How do CEOs from around the country view Connecticut's business climate?

Poorly, based on Chief Executive magazine's annual Best and Worst States for Business rankings, released this week.

Chief Executive 2018 business climate rankingsConnecticut ranked 46th, down one position from last year.

That ranking was driven by falling grades in key categories like taxation and regulation, workforce quality, and living environment.

Declines in the latter two categories are particularly troubling, given that the state's skilled workforce and quality of life are traditional strengths.

The magazine surveyed more than 700 CEOs, asking them to grade states on a variety of metrics.

Connecticut has languished in the bottom 10 for years, reflecting persistent slow job and economic growth and the state's inability to address its long-term debt obligations.

"The top states recognize how truly important it is to maintain the business-friendly cultures that helped them grow dynamically even during the slow-go years following the Great Recession," the magazine reports.

"The high-tax, high-cost environments created by the bottom states also tend to be self-reinforcing.

"Mostly, those places are kept afloat economically by legacy advantages such as strong education and healthcare systems."

Warning for High-Tax States

The magazine's report also carried a warning for high-tax states following passage of federal tax reform earlier this year.

"The situations of bottom feeders could get worse before they get better, in part because of a particular effect of federal tax reform on high-tax states," the magazine reports.

"The exit numbers of companies and owners are going to be higher, because people won't be able to deduct as much in property and income taxes. They're being taxed into oblivion."

The magazine did highlight Connecticut's manufacturing surge, noting major growth at Electric Boat, Pratt & Whitney, and Sikorsky, and the impact that will have on job creation and economic development.

The top states recognize how truly important it is to maintain the business-friendly cultures that helped them grow dynamically.
The report also noted the state government's Manufacturing Innovation Fund, its Technology Talent Bridge internship program, and recent company expansions, including Amazon's new 855,000-square-foot fulfillment center in North Haven.

Chief Executive ranked Texas' business climate the best in the country, followed by Florida, with North Carolina and South Carolina tied at third, and Indiana rounding out the top five.

Rhode Island was the most improved state, jumping 10 spots to number 32 overall, while Michigan climbed nine positions to 27th.

California's business climate ranked worst, followed by New York, Illinois, and New Jersey.