BATON ROUGE, La. -- Today, Pollina Corporate Real Estate Inc. released its annual ranking of top pro-business states, with Louisiana rising to No. 18 in the U.S. Louisiana has climbed 22 spots in Pollina's ranking since 2008. Beyond the overall ranking, Louisiana now stands No. 2 in the U.S. (up from No. 10 in 2010) for incentives and economic development agency performance.
Pollina ranks the 50 states on more than 30 factors, including business taxes, workforce training programs, workers compensation costs, economic development incentives, energy costs, marketing programs and state economic development efforts. In 2010, Louisiana earned Pollina's inaugural Most-Improved State designation, based on the state's improved performance from 2008 to 2010.
Louisiana moved from No. 40 in 2008 to No. 27 in 2009 and No. 20 last year. The latest Louisiana advancement to No. 18 continues the state's economic momentum across a slate of third-party business climate rankings, including the Pollina report.
"Our work to foster the best business environment so more companies invest in Louisiana and create jobs for our people is paying off," said Gov. Bobby Jindal. "This is great news for Louisiana, but we will not rest and we will continue to aggressively pursue more businesses to create jobs here so our sons and daughters can pursue their dreams right here at home."
Since 2008, LED has secured economic development projects resulting in the creation of more than 45,000 new jobs, more than $10 billion in capital investment and hundreds of millions of dollars in new sales for small businesses across the state. Along the way, Louisiana has won State or Co-State of the Year designations from such publications as Southern Business & Development (the past three years in a row) and Business Facilities (2010), which also has honored LED FastStart® as the nation's No. 1 workforce training program in 2010 and 2011. Site Selection, based on 2010 economic development projects, ranked Louisiana No. 3 in the nation and No. 1 on a per capita basis, and the magazine in May of this year named Louisiana Economic Development as the best-performing state economic development agency in the country.
Last year, the Pollina report stated that, "Louisiana has shown astounding progress (and) is on its way to the economic development Super Bowl." According to the 2011 Pollina report, "Last year's Most Improved State, Louisiana, is still riding the rocket, shooting up nine positions from No. 27 to No. 18 since 2009. Keep an eye on this state; it's making the right moves."
Louisiana's improved ranking from 2008 to 2011 is based on a variety of factors, including the creation of LED's Business Expansion and Retention Group; the creation or enhancement of targeted business incentive programs, such as the new Retention and Modernization Program and the recently enhanced Digital Media incentive; the launch of LED FastStart; LED's enhanced website, OpportunityLouisiana.com; recent marketing campaigns; and improved perceptions of Louisiana among top site selection consultants and corporate executives.
Of all 50 state economic development agencies, Louisiana features "easily the most highly trained staff in the nation," according to the Pollina report. "It is easy to see why Louisiana was the Most Improved State for 2010 and continues a rapid rise as a pro-business state."
Pollina scored the 50 states in two stages: Stage I evaluates labor, taxes, education and several other factors; Stage II evaluates incentive programs, including those for existing or expanding businesses and for small businesses, and the performance of state economic development agencies. Virginia ranks No. 1 in the 2011 study, with South Carolina (No. 9) the only other Southern state in the Top 10. California ranked last.
"While we are very pleased with our progress, we are going to continue working hard to reposition Louisiana as one of the very best states in the U.S. in which to start, grow or relocate a business," said LED Secretary Stephen Moret. "We are just getting started. We think this improvement in how Louisiana is perceived in the business world is only the beginning of much bigger gains to come."
About Pollina Corporate Real Estate
Pollina Corporate Real Estate Inc. is a full-service brokerage and consulting firm, representing corporations in real estate matters on a national and international basis. The firm has advised Fortune 500 clients and startup ventures in commercial real estate matters since 1981.