Wisconsin falls in Chief Executive magazine’s best states for business rankings

Wisconsin fell 7 spots to rank 22nd in Chief Executive magazine’s annual Best & Worst States For Business rankings. Wisconsin ranked 15th in the ranking in 2020.

The ranking is based on a survey, conducted in March, of 383 chief executive officers of American companies.

Texas is ranked as the #1 best state for business by the survey, followed by Florida, Tennessee, North Carolina and Indiana. Texas took the top spot for the 17th year in a row.

California is ranked as the #50 worst state for business, behind #49 New York, #48 Illinois, #47 New Jersey and #46 Washington.

Wisconsin was ranked 10th in 2017, and ranked 13th in 2018, 17th in 2019, 15th in 2020 and 22nd in 2021.

The Republican Party of Wisconsin is criticizing Gov. Tony Evers for the decline in the state’s ranking.

“Gov. Evers has fought tooth and nail to hike taxes, enact costly lockdowns and expand government, and his massive proposed tax-and-spend budget has further hurt Wisconsin’s standing with job creators. As our economy recovers from the impact of the pandemic, the last thing Wisconsin needs is a governor who wants to stifle growth at the expense of small business owners and workers,” said Republican Party of Wisconsin spokesperson Anna Kelly.

The leader of the state’s economic development agency said the results of Chief Executive magazine’s survey are not indicative of the true quality of Wisconsin’s business environment and its competitiveness with other states.

“I don’t know any CEO who would make their decision to locate here based on a survey,” said Missy Hughes, secretary and CEO of the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. “When I talk to CEOs, what they tell me is most important is the diversity of our economic base – from manufacturing and agriculture to biotech and financial services – the high quality of our workers, the strength of our communities and our educational system, the reliability of our infrastructure, and the central location of our state.”

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Andrew is the editor of BizTimes Milwaukee. He joined BizTimes in 2003, serving as managing editor and real estate reporter for 11 years. A University of Wisconsin-Madison graduate, he is a lifelong resident of the state. He lives in Muskego with his wife, Seng, their son, Zach, and their dog, Hokey. He is an avid sports fan and is a member of the Muskego Athletic Association board of directors.

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