Updated May. 8, 2017 at 7:42 a.m.

So how did NC earn top business site selection honor despite HB2?

Published: 2017-05-08 07:00:00
Updated: 2017-05-08 07:42:51

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Even the editors of Site Selection magazine acknowledge that the naming of North Carolina as the best business location "will come as a shock to some" in the wake of the 2016 controversy that swirled around the "bathroom bill" known as HB2.

The editors explained that there were several reasons - strengths that overwhelmed the HB2 debacle..

"HB2 didn’t change the strategic significance of a North Carolina location to companies already there, nor to most considering it a potential addition to their real estate portfolios," the editors wrote in the new issue that declares North Carolina its Prosperity Cup winner.

"It still has one of the most educated work forces in the US; a temperate climate; two international airports, including a major hub for American Airlines at Charlotte, which is also a top financial center; three coastal ports; a desirable mid-Atlantic location; top research universities and community colleges and a 3 percent corporate income tax rate — the lowest such rate east of the Mississippi other than Ohio, which imposes a gross receipts tax in lieu of corporate income tax."

Site Selection magazine North Carolina won what was previously called the Top Competitive States in 2016 (tied with Texas) and also 2015.

Selection criteria

The magazine spelled out what it calls "Prosperity Points" as criteria for its rankings.

  • Total new and expanded facilities in 2016
  • Total new and expanded facilities in 2016 per 1 million population
  • Total capital investment in new and expanded facilities in 2016
  • Total capital investment in new and expanded facilities per 1 million population in 2016
  • Total new jobs created in 2016
  • Total new jobs created in 2016 per 1 million population
  • Rank in the corporate real estate executive portion of the 2016 Site Selection Business Climate Ranking
  • State tax climate as ranked by the Tax Foundation
  • Performance in the Beacon Hill Institute’s State Competitiveness Index
  • Number of National Career Readiness Certificates per 1,000 residents aged 18-64, according to ACT – Workforce Development Division, administrator of the ACT Certified Work Ready Communities initiative.

HB2 impact

Yet HB2 cost the state several corporation expansion projects as well as the NBA All-Star game and a boatload of NCAA athletic events.

Site Magazine's selection criteria found that North Carolina still "ranked fourth nationally in total new and expanded facility announcements for 2016 in Site Selection’s March 2017 Governor’s Cup ranking, with 289 projects. It ranked seventh nationally in the per capita Governor’s Cup tally of projects for the year — these performances are unchanged from the previous year."

Ranking states by regionNow that HB2 has been repealed, the magazine says North Carolina could even become more lucrative.

“We do a lot of work with Bay Area companies, and we had at least two clients last year that I can think of, and I bet there are more, that ruled out North Carolina because of that law,” Matt Ryder, managing principal at Cresa Consulting Group in Atlanta, told the magazine.

“Both said they would not explain to their employees why they chose to go to North Carolina. That is certainly something that is influencing North Carolina’s competitiveness. Another is the evolution of JDIG and whether North Carolina will be as competitive in projects where incentives matter.”

For a breakout on how states ranked by region, see the graphic included in this post.

Read the full report at:


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