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Report: Texas, Nebraska recognized for business expansion

“With all due respect, Texas is crushing it,” says Texas Gov.Rick Perry.

When it comes to attracting new business projects to the state, that’s true, according to a survey conducted by the real estate magazine Site Selection.

For the second year in a row, the Lone Star State’s governor won the magazine’s Governor’s Cup for luring more commercial projects than any other.

Other states with the most total commercial projects in 2013 were Ohio, Illinois, Pennsylvania and Michigan.

But the ranking changes when you look at the largest number of projects per capita. Using this methodology, Nebraska came in first, followed by Ohio, Louisiana, Kentucky and Kansas.

Nebraska Gov. Dave Heineman was honored with a co-equal Governor’s Cup for leading the country in corporate expansion activity per capita.

He credited much of his state’s success to its business-friendly environment.

“We are a right-to-work state with a strong work ethic among our employees,” Heineman told Site Selection. “We are a low energy cost state, and we have a reasonable regulatory climate, which is very critical. We have very good public and private education systems, a low cost of living and an outstanding quality of life. All of those come into play when people are looking at your business climate.”

The governor continued, “I don’t know if you can quantify this, but there is a very strong pro-business attitude in this state.”

Heineman says that it is important not to become complacent, states must always reevaluate their economic incentives to ensure they are conducive to growth.

“We have to look at our incentives, the tax structure — everything relative to the business environment — almost every year. Given technology and the mobility of the workforce, we have to stay on our competitive advantages and always be thinking about how to improve them,” he explained to Site Selection.

Perry told Site Selection that his continued success in getting executives to build facilities in Texas can be boiled down to four items: taxes, regulation, the legal environment and a skilled workforce.

“Businesses can figure out pretty quickly whether a state has done those right,” he said. “They need to work in any state. “We have been doing this now for 12 years. It’s not a theory any more. It’s a fact.”

To the annoyance of some state governors, Perry has also actively campaigned in other states to lure businesses away.

“This is not about me running around the country saying, ‘Look what Rick Perry has done,’” he added. I hope people will take away from this the fact that it can happen in their state with the right leadership.”

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