Connecticut near bottom of CEO survey

By Kevin Zimmerman

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Connecticut ranks 46th in a new survey of CEOs regarding the best and worst states for business. The state’s ranking is one below where it finished last year in the annual canvas of business leaders by Chief Executive magazine.

The news follows a study published earlier this month by George Mason University that ranked Connecticut 50th among all states in overall fiscal health.

The magazine asked 513 CEOs to rank states they are familiar with on the friendliness of their tax and regulatory regime, workforce quality and living environment, which includes cost of living, education system and state and local attitudes toward business. The Nutmeg State placed 48th in taxation and regulation, 36th in workforce quality, and 37th in living environment.

Texas topped the list of best states for business with Florida the runner-up — rankings that have not changed throughout the survey’s 12-year history.

On the plus side for Connecticut, the magazine said, “Gov. [Dannel] Malloy appears ready to negotiate and is proactively going after new business, and he’s using the state’s open stance on LGBT as a weapon.”

On the downside, “Other states are closing the gap on Connecticut’s livability and cost advantages, while job creation has not returned to pre-recessionary levels.”

In accompanying CEO remarks, one respondent said the state “overplayed their hand with GE and lost — and those losses will continue. As my company’s leases come due, we are looking to relocate those facilities and jobs to more business-friendly states — and I will make sure to move out of CT before I retire so I don’t die in CT given their backward estate taxes.”

“CT taxes have to stop,” said another. “A good start would be a 5 percent reduction in state spending and an honest look at not only the government but all the NGOs that wouldn’t exist without state sponsorship.”

Massachusetts this year swapped places with Connecticut on the list at 45. States finishing behind the Nutmeg State were New Jersey, Illinois, New York and California.

The magazine is published by Chief Executive Group in Stamford.

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