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  April 7th, 2016 | Written by


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  • Global Trade's State-by-State Directory
  • Which State Is Best For Your Site Selection Needs?
  • Part 1 of Global Trade's Guide To Site Selection

As exporters, the readers of Global Trade are stewards of businesses that grow faster than those concerned only with the domestic market. That growth, and the need to strategically position in areas nearer to the ports and airports that can access the global marketplace, means that exporters are going to have a greater, more frequent need for new supply-chain space. As you plot your next facility, we’ve created this two-part Site Selection Planning Guide as the most direct summary of the best each state has to offer.

With a special emphasis on export assistance, tax and manufacturing incentives and workforce training programs, this guide cuts through the noise to distill the useful tools and most attractive qualities of each state. The report also gives a snapshot of workforce, tax burden and top logistics infrastructure, providing an at-a-glance profile of the states’ business environment. Completing each profile is an interview with a state business leader—be it a CEO of an exporting firm, a secretary of commerce or even the governor—giving an account of how you can benefit from locating in each state.

Here we present the first 25 states in alphabetical order, and the remainder will be featured in our June/July issue. For further research, you can visit the Site Selection section of Global Trade 101 on our website,, where you can search and compare economic development organizations throughout the country.


STATE PROFILE: Population: 4.84 million :: Corporate Tax Rate: 6.5% :: 2015 Export Total: $19.37 billion :: Right To Work State: Yes

WORKFORCE: Labor Force: 2.15 million :: High School Diploma or Higher: 83.7% :: Bachelors or Higher: 23.1% :: Graduate Degree or Higher: 8.6%

INFRASTRUCTURE HIGHLIGHTS: 1. Port of Mobile 2. I-85 3. Port of Huntsville

Companies aren’t just whistling Dixie when they laud Alabama’s tax environment—the Southern state has one of the lowest tax burdens in the nation. Manufacturers, in particular, are benefiting from the state’s policies—particularly a lack of taxes on goods warehoused in Alabama and shipped out of state, as well as sales and use tax exemptions on raw materials. The Alabama Reinvestment and Abatement Act is another major boon to business, providing new and expanding companies with property tax abatement for up to 20 years.

New and expanding businesses also benefit from Alabama Industrial Development Training (AIDT)—a division of the Alabama Department of Commerce that provides free, customized technical training and leadership training programs. Not only does AIDT’s expertise in recruitment and pre-employment training help grow existing businesses, government officials say it attracts outside investment in the state.

Certain cities are also doing their part to attract new business, with Birmingham and Mobile leading the charge. Mobile—home to European aircraft manufacturer Airbus’ new U.S. manufacturing facility—offers companies tax-exempt bonds for financing industrial development and is located in a foreign trade zone. And Birmingham—Alabama’s biggest city—provides companies with direct loans for the purchase of land, facilities, machinery and equipment.



President, Economic Development
Partnership of Alabama

When you’re marketing a state, growth is a real key component—and the success we’ve had in Alabama is absolutely huge, which is demonstrated by recent company expansions. And that gets the attention of companies making [site selection] decisions, because they’re not looking at a five- to 10-year window; they’re making 20-plus-year investments. And what we have to offer here in Alabama is a workforce that has a demonstrated ability to learn and perform advanced manufacturing. Through Alabama Industrial Development Training, the state offers workforce development programs that support not just initial job training, but the ongoing development of our workforce.


STATE PROFILE: Population: 736,730 :: Corporate Tax Rate: 9.4% :: 2015 Export Total: $4.67 billion :: Right To Work State: No

WORKFORCE: Labor Force: 364,526 :: High School Diploma or Higher: 92.9% :: Bachelor’s or Higher: 28.5%  :: Graduate Degree or Higher: 9.7%

INFRASTRUCTURE HIGHLIGHTS: 1. Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport  2. Port of Anchorage  3. The Alaska Railroad 

Despite levying a top corporate tax rate of 9.4 percent, the Last Frontier state redeems itself by having no state income or inventory taxes. Oil-rich Alaska has also enjoyed a surplus of funds, which prevents the tax burden from being placed on businesses and residents. From a manufacturing perspective, Alaska offers companies a slew of advantages, including its government-backed Made in Alaska (MIA) initiative. The mission of the program, state authorities say, is to promote Alaskan-manufactured goods (at least 51 percent must be made in-state) sold both domestically and abroad through targeted marketing campaigns. Qualifying products bear an “MIA” emblem.

The state also helps small and medium-sized manufacturers grow their presence through the Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority’s (AIDEA) Business and Export Assistance Loan Guarantee program. AIDEA helps companies that might not otherwise obtain commercial financing secure the necessary capital for property investments and export endeavors. Under this program, AIDEA has the authority to guarantee up to 80 percent of a loan—up to $1 million.

But big manufacturers remain Alaska’s target market. The city of Anchorage, for instance, is attracting high-value manufacturers through its New Business Incentive Program, a grant program seeking to grow the number of lucrative, year-round jobs.



CEO, Anchorage Economic Development Corp.

Alaska’s unique location—approximately equidistant from New York and Tokyo—provides unrivaled efficiencies to manufacturers reliant on air transportation. After all, more than 75 percent of the goods flown between Asia and North America pass through Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport (ANC), making it the fifth busiest cargo airport in the world in terms of freight throughput. And Alaska’s logistics advantages haven’t gone unnoticed—nearly every major trans-Pacific cargo carrier operates at ANC, and both FedEx and UPS have major sorting facilities there. So it’s easy to see why manufacturers with global supply chains and rapid fulfillment requirements are locating in Alaska.


STATE PROFILE: Population: 6.75 million :: Corporate Tax Rate: 5.5% :: 2015 Export Total: $22.56 billion  :: Right To Work State: Yes

WORKFORCE: Labor Force: 3.16 million :: High School Diploma or Higher: 85.9% :: Bachelor’s or Higher: 27.1% :: Graduate Degree or Higher: 10%
INFRASTRUCTURE HIGHLIGHTS: 1. I-10 2. Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport 3. Port of Tucson

Small and medium-sized manufacturers can take advantage of RevAZ, Arizona’s Manufacturing Extension Partnership center created through a joint venture between the Arizona Commerce Authority and the National Institute of Standards and Technology. Along with aiding Arizona-based manufacturers with attracting and retaining a strong workforce, RevAZ helps companies grow their in-state supply chains, leverage technology to stimulate business growth and conduct client assessments. One of the RevAZ program’s most popular offerings is ExporTech, a nine-week program that gives manufacturers a crash course in exporting through group workshops and individualized coaching sessions; logistics, export compliance and international market identification comprise some of the key subjects covered at ExporTech.

Also drawing manufacturers to Arizona is the state’s foreign trade zone (FTZ) tax incentive, which provides a reduction of up to 72.2 percent in state real and personal property taxes for companies located in an FTZ. Businesses fitting this criteria also enjoy duty-free zones, shorter transit times and a lack of storage time-constraints. Arizona further incentivizes manufacturers through nonrefundable Renewable Energy Investment and Production for Self-Consumption income tax credits. Qualifying companies must invest at least $300 million over a three-year period in new, renewable energy facilities in Arizona that generate energy for self-consumption using renewable resources.



President and CEO, Arizona Commerce Authority

Arizona’s Southwest location, adjacent to two of the world’s largest economies— California and Mexico—gives our state incredible advantages for manufacturing and exporting. As labor and material costs rise in places like China and Asia, Mexico’s “re-shoring” resurgence presents opportunities for Arizona companies. Our low cost of doing business, streamlined regulations and lack of natural disasters are also attractive to advanced manufacturers. And it’s no secret that modern manufacturing technology requires a highly skilled workforce. Arizona is well-prepared in this respect, producing engineering, tech and business graduates through the more than 360 manufacturing-related programs offered at our local universities, community colleges and technical schools.


STATE PROFILE: Population: 2.98 million  :: Corporate Tax Rate: 6.5% :: 2015 Export Total: $5.87 billion :: Right To Work State: Yes

WORKFORCE: Labor Force: 1.3 million :: High School Diploma or Higher: 83.7% :: Bachelor’s or Higher: 20.1% :: Graduate Degree or Higher: 6.1%

INFRASTRUCTURE HIGHLIGHTS: 1. I-40 2. I-30 3. Port of Little Rock

Money may talk, but officials from the Arkansas Economic Development Corp. (AEDC) hope that such “talk” also leads to action. From a financial incentive standpoint, Arkansas offers companies a host of reasons to locate in the Natural State—namely a 5 percent payroll rebate for hiring new, full-time employees via the Create Rebate program; a tax credit of 10 percent of the total investment in a new site or expansion through ArkPlus; and a 33 percent income tax credit for conducting research in partnership with an Arkansas university. The state also incentivizes companies through the Tax Back program, which offers sales and use tax refunds on construction equipment and taxable machinery purchases.

Arkansas manufacturers further benefit from the state’s job training programs—including the innovative Modern Workplace initiative. Authorized by the AEDC, this program connects educators with local companies to gain insight into modern processes. It’s also a lot of fun, according to AEDC’s sector manager Randy Brinkley. “The program seeks to dispel negative attitudes some have about manufacturing by demonstrating the current state of modern manufacturing, the skills needed to be successful, and the career advancement opportunities to be had as result of dedication, continued education and training,” Brinkley says.



Executive director, Arkansas Economic Development Commission

If you look at our state, we have a proven history of business success. We have seven Fortune 500 companies that were homegrown, including Wal-Mart—the world’s largest company—and Tyson Foods, a world leader in poultry production. Their success speaks to the can-do spirit of our state: Arkansas has the workforce, talent and desire to make things happen, and these companies provide a good picture of what the state is able to do for businesses. In addition to that, our proximity to the rest of the country—we’re at the crossroads of the East-West and North-South interstates—[propels] manufacturing.


STATE PROFILE: Population: 38.8 million :: Corporate Tax Rate: 8.84% :: 2015 Export Total: $165.37 billion :: Right To Work State: No

WORKFORCE: Labor Force: 19 million  :: High School Diploma or Higher: 81.5%  :: Bachelor’s or Higher: 31% :: Graduate Degree or Higher: 10.7%

INFRASTRUCTURE HIGHLIGHTS: 1. Port of Los Angeles 2. Port of Long Beach 3. Los Angeles International Airport

Operating out of California doesn’t come cheaply—the state levies some of the highest taxes in the nation—but the Golden State compensates for such costs with strong access to capital and a strategic location. California is situated at the edge of the Pacific Rim, giving businesses direct access to key Asian markets, including Hong Kong and Taiwan. Trade volumes in California are so strong, in fact, that its top two container ports—the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles—handle a combined 40 percent of all U.S. imports. Los Angeles International Airport is also a major hub for global trade, ranking as one of the top 20 cargo airports in the world.

Stellar transportation infrastructure aside, California’s access to talent is also unrivaled by most states. In addition to housing three of the top five engineering schools in the U.S.—Stanford University, the University of California-Berkeley and the California Institute of Technology—the state is home to University of California-Los Angeles, the nation’s No. 2 public institution. State officials say the California Competes Tax Credit—an income tax credit available to businesses that want to move or expand in California—also incentivizes companies to set up shop in the state.



Owner and president, White Industries Inc., a bicycle parts manufacturer

We do original equipment business—and the factories we ship to don’t like to keep a lot of inventory; they want just-in-time deliveries. So being in California, where we’re a day or two closer to Taiwan (where we do the bulk of our business) is helpful because we can just ship parts out at the last minute, right when the factories want it. And as long as the shipments are going westbound to Asia—where it’s also warm—California’s great weather prevents the parts from being delayed off the ground. If we were in the East, the weather would cause shipment delays.


STATE PROFILE: Population: 5.36 million :: Corporate Tax Rate: 4.63% :: 2015 Export Total: $7.98 billion :: Right To Work State: No

WORKFORCE: Labor Force: 2.8 million :: High School Diploma or Higher: 90.5% :: Bachelor’s or Higher: 38.3% :: Graduate Degree or Higher: 12.7%

INFRASTRUCTURE HIGHLIGHTS: 1. I-25 2. BNSF Railway 3. Denver International Airport

Attracting and retaining talent is one of the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade’s (OEDIT’s) top goals, with the organization offering businesses a variety of technical and financial incentives. Key measures include the Advanced Industries Accelerator Grants—which increase access to early-stage capital among high-value companies, in addition to promoting public-private partnerships—and the Strategic Fund Incentive, a program supporting business expansions/relocations that create jobs throughout the state.

Colorado also offers manufacturer-specific incentives, including a state sales and use tax exemption on machinery, tools and parts purchases. And new and expanding manufacturers benefit from the Colorado FIRST grant program, which customizes job training for companies fitting this criteria. By funding workforce training, Colorado FIRST seeks to increase transferable job skills that support companies’ competitiveness and enhance employees’ long-term job prospects, OEDIT officials say. (Note: Eligible companies must contribute at least 40 percent to the total costs of grant-funded training.) Fiscal year 2016 will see $4.5 million in grant funding—a significant jump from the previous fiscal year’s budget of $2.7 million.

On a smaller scale, the city of Denver provides corporate tax credits to companies locating or expanding in the city’s enterprise zone, which spans more than 30 square miles.



Executive director, Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade

Our state’s central geographic location and extensive infrastructure allow easy access to national and global markets, while existing land availability and access to a variety of energy sources further benefit a company’s bottom line. Colorado’s biggest advantages are our entrepreneurial ecosystem and talented workforce, which have not only put us at the forefront of advanced manufacturing but have also driven innovation across the industry and the diverse sectors it supports. And manufacturing is definitely a big priority for Colorado, which is further evidenced by our investment in Advanced Industries Accelerator programs—thus infusing the industry with even more capital to prosper.


STATE PROFILE: Population: 3.6 million :: Corporate Tax Rate: 7.5% (9% with surcharge) :: 2015 Export Total: $15.26 billion :: Right To Work State: No

WORKFORCE: Labor Force: 1.9 million  :: High School Diploma or Higher: 90.1% :: Bachelor’s or Higher: 38% :: Graduate Degree or Higher: 16.7%

INFRASTRUCTURE HIGHLIGHTS: 1. Bradley International Airport 2. I-95 3. Port of Bridgeport

Situated in the heart of America’s business corridor, Connecticut is within 200 miles of 13 percent of the U.S. economy, including the behemoth New York and Boston markets. Proximity to such cities comes at a price—Connecticut ranks as one of the costliest states in which to do business—but the state’s access to talent outweighs the costs for many companies. In addition to housing more than 40 colleges and universities—including the Ivy League Yale University—Connecticut’s employee-output rate stands 31 percent above the national average. And keeping Connecticut equipped with strong workers is the mission of the Connecticut Workforce Investment System, a network of state and local entities that help qualified employees find work.

The state also provides a host of manufacturer-specific incentives, including the Service and Manufacturing Facilities Tax Credit—a 10-year credit that varies according to the facility’s location and workforce size—as well as the $70 million Manufacturing Innovation Fund, which provides manufacturers with the necessary funds to innovate and expand. In addition to subsidizing workforce training and educational programs, the fund encourages manufacturers to partner with universities for research and development initiatives. Connecticut’s Manufacturing Innovation Fund also provides companies with vouchers to help with technical needs.



Commissioner, Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development

Connecticut’s an attractive location for a number of reasons—one of the main ones being our highly skilled workforce, which is top-ranked in terms of productivity. We’re also strengthening the ties between companies and our colleges and universities to ensure that our manufacturers have a pipeline of future talent. Other advantages include our prime Northeast location, superior education system, superlative quality of life and effective financing programs. With these assets, it’s no surprise Connecticut remains a top-tier center for manufacturing innovation, as supported by the recent naming of Connecticut as one of the few federally designated Investing in Manufacturing Communities locations. 


STATE PROFILE: Population: 945,934 :: Corporate Tax Rate: 8.7% :: 2015 Export Total: $5.4 billion :: Right To Work State: No

WORKFORCE: Labor Force: 467,472 :: High School Diploma or Higher: 88% :: Bachelor’s or Higher: 29.4% :: Graduate Degree or Higher: 11.9%

INFRASTRUCTURE HIGHLIGHTS: 1. Port of Wilmington 2. The Chesapeake and Delaware Canal 3. CSX Transportation

Nicknamed the “The Small Wonder,” Delaware exemplifies how good things come in small packages. The state only contains three counties, but what Delaware lacks in size it more than compensates for in economic growth. More than 60 percent of Fortune 500 companies have a presence in Delaware—a testament to the state’s skilled workforce, strategic Mid-Atlantic location and competitive incentives, state officials say. The state also eked out a major win in February when global manufacturer DuPont decided to keep its primary agriculture headquarters in Wilmington after merging with Dow Chemical. As part of the deal with DowDupont, Governor Jack Markell promised to lift annual caps on research and development tax credits, in addition to providing payroll tax credits.

Tax reforms aside, Delaware currently offers the Job Creation Tax Credit, which provides credits against corporate or personal income taxes, public utility tax and gross receipts tax for businesses that hire five or more people, make an investment of at least $200,000 and operate in a qualified facility. The state also encourages companies to bring their customers and suppliers to Delaware via the Business Finder’s Fee Tax Credit. Both the existing business and the relocated company are eligible for this benefit.



Director of Government Affairs, Delaware State Chamber of Commerce

Companies—particularly global manufacturers—benefit from our proximity to major metropolitan areas, our strong port and rail access, our ease of incorporation, and our ability to connect with state and local officials thanks to our smaller size. Delaware is also historically business-friendly, with most of the [nation’s biggest] companies calling the state home. And then there’s our strong university and college system—including the University of Delaware, which has a top-ranked engineering program—that provide employers with a strong, vibrant workforce. Plus, Delaware’s business community is committed to building on the solid foundation of industries that support our continued economic growth.


STATE PROFILE: Population: 19.89 million :: Corporate Tax Rate: 5.5% :: 2015 Export Total: $73.3 billion :: Right To Work State: Yes

WORKFORCE: Labor Force: 9.67 million  :: High School Diploma or Higher: 90.9% :: Bachelor’s or Higher: 30.8% :: Graduate Degree or Higher: 9%

INFRASTRUCTURE HIGHLIGHTS: 1. Miami International Airport 2. JAXPORT 3. Port Tampa Bay

Balmy weather and sandy beaches may draw people to the Sunshine State, but its favorable tax environment keeps them there, officials say. Despite imposing an alternative minimum tax on corporations, the state lacks an income tax and property tax on business inventories. Florida also doesn’t levy property taxes on goods that are in-transit for up to 180 days. Another major incentive is Florida’s Capital Investment Tax Credit, which provides an annual corporate income tax credit for up to 20 years. Eligible capital investment projects must fall into designated high-impact portions of sectors such as advanced manufacturing, biomedical technology and transportation equipment manufacturing and create a minimum of 100 jobs; an investment of at least $25 million is also required.

In addition to the state’s tax-friendly policies, companies are flocking to Florida for its customized job training programs provided via CareerSource Florida. A statewide workforce policy and investment board, CareerSource Florida offers programs such as Incumbent Worker Training and Quick Response Training to help new and existing companies recruit, train and retain a knowledgeable and tech-savvy workforce. Such efforts are clearly working: From 2011 to 2015, the state saw the creation of more than 1,025,000 private-sector jobs.



Florida Secretary of Commerce

No other site in the Western Hemisphere can match Florida’s unique combination of a strategic geographic location, a state-of-the-art infrastructure and a multilingual, highly skilled workforce. Thanks to our 19 airports—including Miami International Airport, which handles 84 percent of all imports and 81 percent of all exports from Latin America/the Caribbean—and our 15 deep-water seaports, companies that locate in Florida can effortlessly conduct business around the world. Florida is also is the sixth-largest export state in the U.S.; merchandise valued at more than $147 billion flowed through our state last year, making us a global leader in international trade. 


STATE PROFILE: Population: 10.2 million :: Corporate Tax Rate: 6% :: 2015 Export Total: $38.55 billion :: Right To Work State: Yes

WORKFORCE: Labor Force: 4.78 million :: High School Diploma or Higher: 85% :: Bachelor’s or Higher: 28.3% :: Graduate Degree or Higher: 10.4%

INFRASTRUCTURE HIGHLIGHTS: 1. Port of Savannah 2. Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport 3. I-85

Boasting the top workforce-training program in the nation—Georgia Quick Start—the state offers free, customized training to new and expanding companies. So far, the program has helped more than 1 million employees upgrade their skills since the mid-’70s—a feat that “distinguishes Georgia from every other state,” says Governor Nathan Deal. Quick Start’s versatility is arguably one of its biggest strengths, with the program representing industries as diverse as plastic manufacturers and aircraft component companies. And training can be conducted in the classroom, in mobile labs or on site—whichever suits a particular company.

Georgia also offers a retraining tax credit, which helps companies offset the costs of teaching employees how to use new equipment and perform new skills by 50 percent. Additional incentives include the state’s sales and use tax exemptions on both energy and machinery used in manufacturing, as well as Georgia’s Job Tax Credit, which provides up to $4,000 in annual tax savings for each new job created for up to five years. Plus, businesses that create at least 50 jobs in a one calendar year—at wages that are at least 10 percent higher than the county average—qualify for a tax credit of $2,500 to $5,000 per job. 



Director of Global Commerce, Georgia Department of Economic Development

A skilled workforce is vitally important to a manufacturer’s success—and Georgia’s workforce is consistently ranked the best in the nation. Not only do we have a very robust technical college system that’s focused on preparing workers for critical manufacturing skills, such as precision machining and electromechanical and industrial maintenance, we have Georgia Tech—home to the No. 1 and No. 2 industrial engineering and mechanical engineering programs in the nation, respectively. Then on top of that, we have the Port of Savannah, which gives companies the fastest westward transit times in the South Atlantic region and boasts direct rail access from the terminals.


STATE PROFILE: Population: 1.43 million :: Corporate Tax Rate: 6.4% :: 2015 Export Total: $1.9 billion :: Right To Work State: No

WORKFORCE: Labor Force: 682,800 :: High School Diploma or Higher: 90.4% :: Bachelor’s or Higher: 30.1% :: Graduate Degree or Higher: 9.9%

INFRASTRUCTURE HIGHLIGHTS: 1. Honolulu Harbor 2. Honolulu International Airport 3. Interstate H-1

Convincing companies to relocate to Hawaii is the easy part—after all, the island state is renowned worldwide for its stunning beauty and near-perfect weather. But affording to operate out of Hawaii may present some challenges since the state currently ranks as the nation’s costliest for business. Hawaii is attempting to overcome this reputation, however, by leveraging its location as a midpoint between Asia and the Americas for exporters.

State officials also recently announced the Hawaii State Trade and Export Promotion-Export Readiness Program, which provides local manufacturers with a crash course in exporting. Companies can choose between Export University—an introduction to the exportation process that’s open to all participants—and ExporTech, a program designed for companies with some exportation experience but no definitive export plan. Export University encompasses 16 hours of instruction over several days while ExportTech meets once a month for three months. Luis Salaveria, director of Hawaii’s Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism, calls these programs a game-changer for Hawaiian businesses, saying they will create more jobs by enabling manufactures to penetrate new markets. Hawaiian manufacturers further benefit from the presence of Honolulu Harbor’s Foreign Trade Zone No. 9, which provides a one-stop shop for global shipments.



Executive director, Office of Economic Development for the City and County of Honolulu

One of the biggest benefits of locating in Hawaii is our ability to link the East and the West. We have tremendous access to Asia and a lot of local know-how—and reaching international customers from domestic soil is a benefit companies are using strategically as they expand into China, Korea, Japan and Southeast Asia. We’ve observed companies leveraging our ports to move goods and provide services to and from these markets. Recently, we’ve seen tech and innovation in Hawaii become a conduit of the knowledge industry, with an increase of conferences taking place here and many people coming here to work.


STATE PROFILE: Population: 1.65 million :: Corporate Tax Rate: 7.4% :: 2015 Export Total: $4.3 billion :: Right To Work State: Yes

WORKFORCE: Labor Force: 806,000 :: High School Diploma or Higher: 90.1% :: Bachelor’s or Higher: 25% :: Graduate Degree or Higher: 8.3%

INFRASTRUCTURE HIGHLIGHTS: 1. BNSF Railway 2. Port of Lewiston 3. Boise Airport

Potatoes may be Idaho’s claim to fame, but the Northwestern state is also making a name for itself in the business realm. With the cost of doing business and the cost of living among the nation’s lowest—ranking No. 6 and No. 3, respectively—Idaho is living up to its “Gem State” nickname in more ways than one. State officials say Idaho is no longer a hidden gem for companies, however, thanks to the July 2014 passage of the Tax Reimbursement Incentive (TRI), which offers businesses that bring high-wage jobs to Idaho an up-to 30 percent refund on sales, payroll and corporate income taxes for up to 15 years. Under TRI regulations, eligible companies must create at least 50 new jobs in an urban area or 20 in a rural area and provide wages above the county average.

Other incentives driving companies to Idaho are the state’s lack of inventory and utility taxes, as well as Workforce Development Training Fund—with the latter reimbursing employee training costs for companies that bring jobs to Idaho, add jobs through expansion or upgrade the skills of employees facing redundancy. Employers finance the fund through an offset to the unemployment insurance tax, according to state officials.



Idaho Commerce Director

The state of Idaho offers a progressive business climate with comparative advantages in utilities, labor, workers’ compensation and cost of living, among other benefits. Companies have found that doing business in Idaho can significantly improve their profitability and competitive edge. After all, our state has overnight access to major western markets, a competitive business environment, low taxes, and stable, pro-business state and local governments. And with the new Tax Reimbursement Incentive, qualifying companies can receive a host of tax advantages. Idaho is a great place to do business and we are confident that companies will be happy to call Idaho home.


STATE PROFILE: Population: 12.85 million :: Corporate Tax Rate: 5.25% :: 2015 Export Total: $63.4 billion :: Right To Work State: No

WORKFORCE: Labor Force: 6.6 million  :: High School Diploma or Higher: 87.6% :: Bachelor’s or Higher: 38% :: Graduate Degree or Higher: 11.7%

INFRASTRUCTURE HIGHLIGHTS: 1. Chicago O’Hare International Airport 2. CenterPoint Intermodal Center-Joliet/Elwood 3. Midwest Inland Port

Size-wise, Illinois is completely average—the state ranks 25th among its peers in total area—but the magnitude of the state’s manufacturing workforce suggests otherwise. Ten percent of the state’s 6.6-million-strong workforce is employed in manufacturing—the fourth highest amount in the nation—with Illinois housing the Digital Manufacturing and Digital Innovation Institute, as well as several satellite campuses. Illinois Department of Commerce Director Jim Schultz calls the latter a “huge advantage” for state manufacturers as the industry becomes increasingly technology-driven. Without a doubt, he says, Illinois has emerged as a global leader in advanced manufacturing techniques.

Further propelling the state’s manufacturing sector is Illinois’ access to all seven of the nation’s Class I railroads, the nation’s third-largest interstate highway system and the world’s third-largest intermodal port. Plus, Schultz says, Illinois’ competitive energy rates offer manufacturers savings over surrounding states. 

The state’s Economic Development for a Growing Economy tax credit program is another benefit of locating in Illinois. Designed to persuade companies to locate or expand in Illinois over a competing state, the program offers tax credits to qualifying companies equal to the amount of state income taxes withheld from the salaries of employees in the newly created roles.


Chip Owen

CEO, D&M Plastics, a precision molding plastics manufacturer

Our transportation infrastructure is one of the biggest reasons why manufacturers like Illinois—and Chicago, in particular. The state is centrally located and Chicago’s interstate and rail infrastructure is among the country’s best. And if you have to ship goods by air, O’Hare is one of the top cargo airports in the world. Illinois provides the best of both worlds for manufacturers—with Chicago, they have easy access to multinational corporations that they can do business with, and they also have McCormick Place, the biggest convention center on the continent. And outside of the city, there’s lots of affordable land.


STATE PROFILE: Population: 6.6 million :: Corporate Tax Rate: 6.5% :: 2015 Export Total: $33.65 billion  :: Right To Work State: Yes

WORKFORCE: Labor Force: 3.28 million  :: High School Diploma or Higher: 88.4% :: Bachelor’s or Higher: 24.7% :: Graduate Degree or Higher: 8.9%

INFRASTRUCTURE HIGHLIGHTS: 1. Indianapolis International Airport 2. I-64 3. Port of Indiana-Burns Harbor

Indiana boasts the highest concentration of manufacturing jobs in the nation for several reasons, officials from the Indiana Economic Development Corp. (IEDC) say. For one thing, the Hoosier State has a stable business environment, with Indiana’s annual budget consistently delivering a surplus and the state’s corporate tax rate dropping to 4.9 percent in 2022. Then there’s the fact that Indiana’s manufacturers have proximity to a supply chain that comprises nearly 30 percent of the state’s gross domestic product.

Finding the ideal site to launch or expand operations is also easy for manufacturers, thanks to the IEDC’s nationally acclaimed database, A one-stop shop for site-selection services, the online database provides information about available land and buildings, detailed community statistics, interactive heat maps and Indiana-certified shovel-ready-site data. The IEDC also works with local developers and utility companies to ensure manufacturers find the location that best meets their needs.

Also enticing companies to Indiana are the Headquarters Relocation Tax Credit and the Skills Enhancement Fund—with the latter subsidizing employee training costs in support of new capital investments. This grant reimburses businesses for a portion (typically 50 percent) of eligible training costs over a two-year period from the commencement of the project.



Indiana’s Secretary of Commerce

Over the last decade, Indiana has worked tirelessly to build itself into a state that works for business. We continually see Indiana ranked as the top state in the Midwest for doing business because we offer the workforce, centrality, business climate and affordability companies need to succeed and grow on their own terms. It all starts with our workforce. Right now, more Hoosiers are employed than ever before in our state’s 200-year history and Indiana is home to the largest concentration of manufacturing jobs in the nation—which means our workforce is developing and building the products that power our world.


STATE PROFILE: Population: 3.1 million :: Corporate Tax Rate: 12% :: 2015 Export Total: $13.11 billion  :: Right To Work State: Yes

WORKFORCE: Labor Force: 1.7 million  :: High School Diploma or Higher: 92.1% :: Bachelor’s or Higher: 27.7%  :: Graduate Degree or Higher: 9%

INFRASTRUCTURE HIGHLIGHTS: 1. I-29 2. Des Moines International Airport 3. I-35

A global leader in the advanced manufacturing sector, Iowa benefits from a low cost of business as well as numerous tax incentive programs. Some of the most popular incentives include the New Jobs Tax Credit—a corporate income tax credit available to qualifying companies that expand their Iowa workforce by 10 percent or more—and Iowa’s High Quality Jobs program, which helps companies offset the costs of relocating, expanding or modernizing an Iowa facility through tax credits and direct financial assistance. Fledgling manufacturers can also take advantage of the Hawkeye State’s Export Trade Assistance Program, which partially reimburses small companies for marketing their products to an international audience via trade shows and trade missions.

Benefiting Iowa’s manufacturing sector even further is the 2014 Iowa Apprenticeship and Job Training Act, which triples funding for apprenticeship training, helps reduce student debt and facilitates a well-trained workforce. Under this program, apprentices undergo focused, hands-on training that allows them to earn a paycheck from day one.

The capital city of Des Moines is also taking a hands-on approach to economic development. In September, the Greater Des Moines Partnership will lead a cultural exploration trip to South Africa—a move introducing local businesses to international markets.



Director, Iowa Economic Development Authority

With a consistent effort to support industry innovation and workforce training, Iowa is leading the country into the next era of advanced manufacturing. And the success of the industry will always be one of our top priorities since advanced manufacturing is the state’s largest business sector. Fortunately, our advanced manufacturers are partnering with higher education entities and one another to solve common talent and technology needs. Iowa’s low operational costs, pro-business environment and skilled workforce are also second to none. Coupled with our business-friendly state government, business-minded tax incentives and favorable tax climate, and Iowa’s manufacturers have found the recipe for success.


STATE PROFILE: Population: 2.9 million :: Corporate Tax Rate: 7% :: 2015 Export Total: $10.69 billion :: Right To Work State: Yes

WORKFORCE: Labor Force: 1.51 million :: High School Diploma or Higher: 89.8% :: Bachelor’s or Higher: 30.3% :: Graduate Degree or Higher: 10.2%

INFRASTRUCTURE HIGHLIGHTS: 1. Logistics Park Kansas City 2. 1-70 3. BNSF Railway

Connecting local manufacturers with international customers is one of the Kansas Department of Commerce’s top priorities, with the government agency providing export assistance and marketing to qualified companies. In addition to distributing trade leads and export data, the commerce department hosts foreign delegations, conducts trade seminars and matches companies with export financing packages. Manufacturers wishing to ship to Mexico and China are also in luck since the Kansas Department of Commerce works with contractors in these regions, as well as consultants in Asia, Europe and South America.

The only obstacle standing in manufacturers’ way is Kansas’ shortage of skilled workers. Fortunately, state legislators are working to overcome this challenge through the 2012 University Engineering Initiative Act (UEIA). Under the 10-year, $105 million UEIA, Kansas is seeking to increase the number of engineering graduates at Kansas State University, the University of Kansas and Wichita University nearly 60 percent by 2021. The state also offers the Workforce Aligned with Industry Demand (AID) program, which facilitates short-term, employer-driven training that results in participants obtaining college credits and industry-recognized credentials. Businesses and prospective employees connect throughout the training process so participants can learn job expectations—a major advantage from a manufacturing perspective, AID officials say.



Kansas Commerce Secretary

Kansas boasts a wide range of industries, which gives us a unique business outlook. Along with our agricultural sector—which we’re well known for—we have strong biosciences and aviation industries. We’re also a conservative state that prides itself on fiscal responsibility. And businesses that come to Kansas enjoy a proactive legislative and regulatory environment, as well as a skilled workforce and major cost and tax advantages. They can also look forward to the future of technology, as Kansas is quickly becoming a high-tech hub. All of this combined makes the Sunflower State a haven for investment and undoubtedly open for business.


STATE PROFILE: Population: 4.43 million :: Corporate Tax Rate: 6% :: 2015 Export Total: $27.6 billion :: Right To Work State: No

WORKFORCE: Labor Force: 1.95 million  :: High School Diploma or Higher: 83.5% :: Bachelor’s or Higher: 21.8% :: Graduate Degree or Higher: 8.5%

INFRASTRUCTURE HIGHLIGHTS: 1. Louisville Intn’l Airport 2. The Ports of Cincinnati & Northern Kentucky 3. Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky Intn’l  Airport

The Bluegrass State’s biggest draw can be summed up in one phrase: location, location, location. In addition to housing Louisville International Airport—the No.7 cargo airport in the world and home to the expansive UPS Worldport hub—Kentucky contains 19 interstates and highways, major rail networks and both the Mississippi and Ohio rivers. In fact, the state ranks 10th in the nation for port tonnage. For manufacturers needing to get goods to market faster, it’s an advantage that can’t be overlooked, state officials say.

Kentucky’s transportation infrastructure isn’t the state’s only asset, however. Businesses also benefit from the Select Kentucky geographic information tool, which discloses information about available industrial properties and showcases community profiles and current industry data. The Kentucky Business Investment (KBI) program is another major incentive for manufacturers locating or expanding in the state, providing them with income tax credits and wage assessments. And companies in certain counties—including the business-friendly Boyle County—benefit from enhanced KBI incentives. Buoying business even further is the Kentucky Enterprise Initiative Act (KEIA), which provides manufacturers locating or expanding in Kentucky with a sales and use tax refund on building and construction materials. KEIA-eligible companies must invest at least $500,000 in an economic development project.



Acting secretary, Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development

Kentucky ranks third nationally for air cargo shipments, with both the UPS Worldport and Centennial ground hubs in Louisville; DHL Americas’ hub in Northern Kentucky; and several large FedEx facilities throughout the state. This strong logistics presence allows products to move anywhere in the world virtually overnight. Manufacturers also like that our electricity costs for industrial use are nearly 20 percent lower than the national average. And Kentucky’s low housing costs, innovative workforce training and pipeline programs, along with our ideal location—within 600 miles of 60 percent of the U.S. population—make it a top choice for new business locations and expansions.


STATE PROFILE: Population: 4.67 million :: Corporate Tax Rate: 8% :: 2015 Export Total: $49.18 billion :: Right To Work State: Yes

WORKFORCE: Labor Force: 2.13 million :: High School Diploma or Higher: 82.8% :: Bachelor’s or Higher: 22.1% :: Graduate Degree or Higher: 7.4%

INFRASTRUCTURE HIGHLIGHTS: 1. Port of South Louisiana 2. Port of New Orleans 3. BNSF Railway

Manufacturing in Louisiana is big business—and state officials hope to keep it that way through the Louisiana Economic Development (LED) FastStart workforce development program. Governor Bobby Jindal calls FastStart—which creates free, customized employee recruiting, screening and training techniques for new or expanding companies—instrumental in helping Louisiana become “a top-tier destination for domestic and foreign economic development projects.” So far, LED has secured more than $62 billion in new capital investments since FastStart’s 2008 inception—and the program shows no signs of slowing down.

Louisiana further encourages investment via the state’s Industrial Tax Exemption—which provides full property tax abatement for up to 10 years on a manufacturer’s new investment and annual capitalized additions—as well as the Enterprise Zone tax credit; the latter offers qualifying companies a $2,500 tax credit for each new job created, along with either a 4 percent sales/use tax rebate on capital expenses or a 1.5 percent investment tax credit for certain expenses.

The city of New Orleans is also aiming to attract high-value manufacturers, a goal authorities hope to accomplish through the Quality Jobs initiative. Under this program, companies in industries such as advanced manufacturing can receive tax benefits for creating high-value jobs.



Louisiana Economic Development Secretary

Louisiana is one of America’s top exporting states—and there are a number of reasons why companies take advantage of the robust opportunities we have here: First, we have more than 30 ports, which provides us with easy access to global markets. We also have great opportunities that are specific to advanced manufacturers, as well as aerospace, agribusiness and automotive companies. Then there’s the fact that Louisiana has numerous certified sites that are shovel-ready for projects to locate and quickly come online. Finally, we have the nation’s No. 1 workforce training program, LED FastStart, which creates customized curriculum at no cost to eligible companies.


STATE PROFILE: Population: 1.33 million :: Corporate Tax Rate: 8.93% :: 2015 Export Total: $2.72 billion :: Right To Work State: No

WORKFORCE: Labor Force: 676,600 :: High School Diploma or Higher: 91.1% :: Bachelor’s or Higher: 27.9% :: Graduate Degree or Higher: 9.6%

INFRASTRUCTURE HIGHLIGHTS: 1. Port of Portland 2. 1-95 3. Pan Am Railways

For a state dubbed “Vacationland,” Maine is very serious about business. Not only does Maine enjoy New England’s lowest labor costs—which trail the national average by 6 percent—the northernmost state in the contiguous U.S. boasts a number of nationally recognized workforce development initiatives, including the Maine Apprenticeship Program (MAP). With this program, state officials work with local businesses—particularly manufacturers—to provide both on-the-job and classroom training that results in program attendees earning professional credentials. The state also offers the Maine Quality Centers program, which enables qualifying companies that create at least eight full-time jobs the ability to undergo customized recruitment, high-performance skills or technical skills training.

Tax-wise, manufacturers benefit from the Pine Tree Development Zones program, which significantly slashes state taxes for up to 10 years for companies relocating to Maine or creating high-value jobs. Manufacturers moving to Maine further benefit from the expertise—and unique approach—of the economic development organization Maine & Co. Rather than just touting workforce statistics, Maine & Co. pairs prospective manufacturing leaders with local C-level executives who are able to provide them with real-life examples of how business operates in Maine. Confidential consulting services are free of charge to all parties.



President and CEO, Maine & Co.

Maine is an affordable option in the very expensive Northeastern region. We’re accessible to Boston and other key New England cities, close to New York, and within one trucking day from major Northeastern and even Midwestern markets. In other words, businesses in Maine can reach a lot of people very quickly. And many growing companies use Maine to support their growth, such as employing our production capabilities to support their [research and development] centers. When you look at our access to talent, our numerous incentive packages, and our infrastructure for getting products to market, locating in Maine just makes sense.


STATE PROFILE: Population: 6 million :: Corporate Tax Rate: 8.25% :: 2015 Export Total: $10.03 billion :: Right To Work State: No

WORKFORCE: Labor Force: 3.16 million  :: High School Diploma or Higher: 89.6% :: Bachelor’s or Higher: 38.2% :: Graduate Degree or Higher: 17.5%

INFRASTRUCTURE HIGHLIGHTS: 1. Port of Baltimore 2. Baltimore-Washington International Airport 3. 1-95

Maryland may be small geographically, but the Mid-Atlantic state packs a lot of punch—a fact largely attributable to Maryland’s top-notch workforce. Boasting the nation’s highest median household income, Maryland also possesses the largest percentage of professional and technical workers. Some would argue that housing such skilled workers comes at a price—the state’s cost of doing business is among the nation’s highest—but Maryland offsets such expenses with a number of cost-cutting measures.

Key incentives include the Job Creation Tax Credit—which offers qualifying businesses that create at least 60 full-time jobs within a 24-month period state income tax credits of between $1,000 and $1,500 per job—as well as the Enterprise Zone Tax Credit, a program providing real property and state income tax credits for companies creating jobs within one of Maryland’s 29 enterprise zones.

The state also encourages companies—particularly manufacturers—to relocate to Maryland via the One Maryland initiative. Under this program, businesses that invest in a “qualified distressed county” and create at least 25 full-time jobs may quality for up to $5.5 million in state income tax credits; start-up tax credits of up to $500,000 are available for relocating the company and purchasing new equipment.



Secretary, Maryland Department of Commerce

Maryland’s workforce is one of the most educated in the country, with more doctoral scientists and engineers than anywhere else the U.S. It’s no surprise, however, since we’re home to world-renowned higher education institutions like the U.S. Naval Academy, as well the University of Maryland and Johns Hopkins University—two of the top 50 universities worldwide. And our prime East Coast location—within an eight-hour drive of one-third of the U.S. population—has led many large-scale logistics and manufacturing facilities to locate here. The world-class Port of Baltimore is also attracting business since it’s the closest East Coast port to the Midwest.


STATE PROFILE: Population: 6.7 million :: Corporate Tax Rate: 8% :: 2015 Export Total: $25.2 billion :: Right To Work State: No

WORKFORCE: Labor Force: 3.6 million :: High School Diploma or Higher: 89% :: Bachelor’s or Higher: 38.2% :: Graduate Degree or Higher: 16.4% INFRASTRUCTURE HIGHLIGHTS: 1. Port of Boston 2. Logan Intn’l  Airport 3. Massachusetts Turnpike

The Economic Development Incentive Program (EDIP) is a tax incentive program designed to create jobs and stimulate business growth. Participating companies may receive state and local tax incentives in exchange for full-time job creation, manufacturing job retention and private investment commitments.

Projects which qualify for benefits require the creation of specific numbers of jobs and may require commitments of capital. Manufacturing retention projects are located in “gateway communities” and require a substantial investment and creation of 25 new full-time manufacturing jobs and/or retention of 50 jobs.

The EACC may also provide incentives for projects not seeking an investment tax credit. For example, the Abandoned Building Renovation Deduction program provides businesses with corporate excise or personal income tax deductions equal to 10 percent of the cost of renovating an abandoned building.

In an effort to prevent worker injuries and help employers lower workers compensation costs, Massachusetts administers a safety training grant program. Grants help fund a wide array of safety training programs selected by the company that improve workplace safety, including ergonomics, hazardous material handling, and proper heavy-lifting techniques among others. Any company, regardless of size, may receive one grant per fiscal year. The maximum award amount is $25,000.



Secretary of Housing and Economic Development

Massachusetts has the country’s best-educated workforce, and that workforce is overwhelmingly dedicated to inventing the future, with 40 percent of workers employed in the innovation economy. This workforce attracts nationally leading levels of investment—in venture capital, research and development funding, and NIH funding—combining to produce nationally leading levels of innovation patents. We are deepening the connections between manufacturers, innovative start-ups, and tech researchers, and investing in public-private innovation institutes in applied manufacturing technologies, including photonics, flexible and printed electronics, and robotics. We are coupling these investments with workforce development and vocational technical education, training workers in advanced machining, 3D printing, bio manufacturing and robotics. When new ideas get developed in Massachusetts, they also get built here.


STATE PROFILE: Population: 9.91 million :: Corporate Tax Rate: 6% :: 2015 Export Total: $53.2 billion :: Right To Work State: Yes

WORKFORCE: Labor Force: 4.8 million :: High School Diploma or Higher: 87.9% :: Bachelor’s or Higher: 24.6% :: Graduate Degree or Higher: 9.4%

INFRASTRUCTURE HIGHLIGHTS: 1. Port of Detroit 2. Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Intn’l Airport 3. Canadian Nat’l, Canadian Pacific, CSX & Norfolk Southern railways

Michigan has largely eliminated its former system of tax credits for new and expanding businesses, but has a number of other key incentives to attract businesses to the state. A business development program provides up-front cash to prospective companies when that is necessary to compete with other locations and close a deal.

Michigan’s State Trade Export Program defrays the costs of companies attending overseas trade shows and assists them with other marketing-related expenses. Exporters have available to them a basket of assistance that includes business development missions, various forms of economic incentives to create jobs and encourage investment, and talent acquisition and retention.

The state has doubled its skilled trades training program in recent years—focusing on the 18- to 35-year-old demographic—to attract new skilled workers to the state and to update the skills of existing workers to keep them local. Michigan was losing population for a few years after the Great Recession but that trend has leveled off and the state is beginning to grow again thanks to these programs.



CEO, Michigan Economic Development Corporation

When looking at locating in a state, businesses want to know what their business partner looks like and what kind of financial situation will they have. For five or six years now, we have been working on our core fundamentals, such as simplifying our business tax system and instituting a very simple 6 percent corporate income tax. We’ve eliminated the personal property tax on industrial and manufacturing equipment. Our tax structure favors exporting goods out of the state. We have eliminated more than 2,000 unnecessary regulations. We regulate the right way and for the right reasons. We don’t present a bureaucratic challenge for anyone to come into the state.


STATE PROFILE: Population: 5.5 million :: Corporate Tax Rate: 9.8% :: 2015 Export Total: $20 billion :: Right To Work State: No

WORKFORCE: Labor Force: 3 million :: High School Diploma or Higher: 91.5% :: Bachelor’s or Higher: 31.5% :: Graduate Degree or Higher: 10.3%

INFRASTRUCTURE HIGHLIGHTS: 1. “Corridors of Commerce” highway expansions 2. Minneapolis-Saint Paul Intn’l Airport 3. Port of Duluth

From tax breaks to grants and loans, a wide variety of incentives and financial assistance is available to help companies start, expand and relocate in Minnesota. Some benefits are directed to specific industries. Small businesses headquartered in Minnesota engaged in high-tech R&D can qualify for $1 million in tax credits. Sales tax exemptions are available to eligible existing businesses based on job creation and wage level requirements.

The SEED Capital Investment Program provides tax incentives for investing in innovative businesses located in Minnesota border cities. Investors may receive a 45 percent tax credit on their investment, up to $112,500 per year. The Small Business Credit Initiative stimulates private-sector lending and improves access to capital for small businesses and manufacturers that need loans to expand and create jobs.

Companies that build data or network operation centers of at least 25,000 square feet and invest $30 million qualify for sales tax exemptions for 20 years on computers and servers, cooling and energy equipment, and energy use and software, and pay no personal property tax ever. The Bioscience Incentive Program provides cash to encourage production of advanced biofuels, renewable chemicals and thermal energy production from biomass.



Commissioner, Department of Employment and Economic Development

The most compelling reason why manufacturers should consider coming to Minnesota is the quality of the state’s workers. Minnesota’s highly educated and motivated workforce is what companies cite most when asked why they decided to expand in the state. Minnesota ranks fourth in the country for high school graduation rates, and one-third of the adult population has earned a bachelor’s degree or better. The state has high-quality workforce training programs that help prepare workers for jobs in specific fields. The Minnesota Job Skills Partnership is frequently tapped by manufacturers for training support. The program provides funding that manufacturers can use to train new workers in areas like welding and robotics.


STATE PROFILE: Population: 2.99 million :: Corporate Tax Rate: 3-5% :: 2015 Export Total: $10.8 billion :: Right To Work State: Yes

WORKFORCE: Labor Force: 1.3 million :: High School Diploma or Higher: 80.4% :: Bachelor’s or Higher: 19.6% :: Graduate Degree or Higher: 7.1%

INFRASTRUCTURE HIGHLIGHTS: 1. Port of Gulfport 2. Port of Pascagoula 3. Jackson-Medgar Evers International Airport

The Mississippi legislature often approves cash incentives for specific projects, as it did recently to attract a Continental Tire plant to Hinds County with a $263 million package through the Mississippi Major Economic Impact Authority for site acquisition and site preparation, infrastructure improvements and workforce training. Topship recently announced the location of its shipbuilding operations in Gulfport after the legislature voted $10 million in discretionary grants and $1 million for workforce training, also through the Mississippi Major Economic Impact Authority. Cooper Tire, Yokohama Tire, Ingalls Shipbuilding and Nissan Motors have been some of the past recipients of Mississippi legislative grants.

Mississippi boasts one of the lowest costs of living and lowest costs of doing business in the nation. The state is ranked second for the cost of doing business and third for competitive labor costs, and has a low rate of union activity—and its political leaders are determined to keep things that way. The state is also fifth in the nation for permitting speed and fourth for technical skills education.




Our skilled and multi-talented workforce is our greatest strength. A decade ago we decided to build our middle-skills workforce, those who don’t need a bachelor’s degree, so we concentrated on our community colleges which are considered the best in the nation. We use them as centers of excellence for workforce training in the middle skills. This year we are putting an additional $10 million into workforce training. When I go around the world and talk to companies, I tell them we have the 5,000 of the 8,000 skilled workers that you need to begin manufacturing and go to market right away.


STATE PROFILE: Population: 6.1 million :: Corporate Tax Rate: 6.25% :: 2015 Export Total: $13.6 billion :: Right To Work State: No

WORKFORCE: Labor Force: 3.1 million :: High School Diploma or Higher: 86.8% :: Bachelor’s or Higher: 25.2% :: Graduate Degree or Higher: 9.5%

INFRASTRUCTURE HIGHLIGHTS: 1. St. Louis and Kansas City rail terminals 2. 1,400 miles of interstate highways 3. Mississippi and Missouri rivers

Missouri Works streamlines and improves the state’s business development incentives, encouraging companies to invest and create jobs. The program can provide significant benefits for new and existing companies that create or retain jobs in Missouri. Benefits to companies vary based on location, amount of investment and number of jobs created, and can include retention of state withholding tax and/or state tax credits. The program connects companies with a state training team member who is certified to guide them through the application process and provide ongoing management of approved projects. The training team can help companies define their training needs and locate or provide training resources.

Missouri Works Training provides funds directly to companies based on their application and training plan. A professional staff determines the best funding option for the company. Some training may require a company investment in training of 50 percent. Training may take place in a classroom setting, on-the-job, at a company facility, or in a skill-training center operated by one of one of the state’s expert training providers. The company decides who provides the training—a skilled provider from the state’s training team, a company expert, or a private vendor of the company’s preference.




Missouri encompasses the very best of what America’s Heartland has to offer, including a highly educated workforce that is ready to compete in today’s global economy. We have balanced budgets, low taxes and a spotless AAA credit rating—a fiscal gold standard that we’ve maintained for more than 50 years. We’re also a top destination for entrepreneurs and start-ups, and recent census data showed Missouri leading the nation in new business creation. We’ve worked hard to cultivate a highly educated workforce of problem solvers and innovators who are ready to tackle the challenges of the 21st century. Missouri’s high school graduation rate is now in the top 10 in the nation and last year, more than 50,000 students earned a degree from one of our public colleges and universities.

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