CEO poll tabs Ohio as most improved among states

Two separate surveys released Tuesday — one of CEOs, the other of small businesses — concluded that Ohio has greatly enhanced its business climate, with the CEOs declaring Ohio the most-improved among the 50 states.

“Both of these studies, especially since they were released on the same day, just highlight the positive economic changes happening in Ohio,” said Chris Kershner, vice president of public policy and economic development for the Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce.

Ohio rose 13 spots to No. 22 in Chief Executive magazine’s 2013 Best & Worst States Survey on business climate.

The Best & Worst States Survey measures the sentiments of CEOs on issues such as regulations, tax policies, workforce quality, educational resources, quality of living and infrastructure. For the 2013 survey, 736 CEOs from across the country evaluated the states between Jan. 16 and Feb. 14.

CEOs rated Texas as the No. 1 state in which to do business, according to the Greenwich, Conn.-based magazine. Florida, North Carolina, Tennessee and Indiana also made the top five. The states rated worst for business are California, New York, Illinois, Massachusetts and New Jersey.

And Ohio improved in nearly every category in the second annual Thumbtack.com Small Business Friendliness Survey released by San Francisco-based Thumbtack.com in collaboration with the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation.

Ohio’s overall ranking rose from a D-plus in 2012 to a C-plus in 2013, based on a nationwide survey of 7,700 small-business owners. The state earned a B grade for its tax code, and a C-minus for its environmental regulations.

Kershner attributed the improvement to programs such as Gov. John Kasich’s JobsOhio, which replaced the state’s former economic-development office, and his administration’s CSI Initiative that seeks to identify and reduce unnecessary regulatory burdens on businesses.

Those initiatives demonstrate that the state is being aggressive not only in recruiting businesses to locate in Ohio but also in helping existing businesses expand within the state, Kershner said.

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