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S.C. ranked as No. 2 best state for doing business

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A development magazine has ranked South Carolina second in the country for doing business.

In its 2016 Top States for Doing Business, Area Development — a quarterly magazine aimed at site consultants and other industry executives — said the state rated high because of several factors including incentives, government, and the state’s permitting process.

“The tax environment gets high marks — and no wonder — the corporate income tax rate is 5%, and there are no state property taxes, inventory taxes, local income taxes, taxes on manufacturing equipment or materials for finished products, nor wholesale taxes,” the magazine said.

South Carolina was second to Georgia which claimed the top spot in the magazine’s list for the third year in a row. Area Development rated Georgia the highest in six of the 10 categories it uses to determine the overall ranking. The magazine said Georgia was tops in the categories of responsive state government and workforce development programs.

Regionally, the Southeast claimed nine of the top 20 spots in the rankings, and eight of the top 10. Tennessee, Louisiana, Alabama, Florida, North Carolina and Mississippi joined Georgia and South Carolina at the top of the list, along with Texas and Indiana.

The Palmetto State earned the top spot for business incentives programs; the magazine noted the state has “a long list of business incentives, some of them statutory and some discretionary.”

“Move a corporate headquarters there and you can earn a generous credit of up to 20% that can be applied against corporate income taxes or license fees,” the magazine said. “Conduct research there and your tax burden decreases. Create jobs and you’ll be rewarded with incentives.”

The state was also praised for its speed of permitting. South Carolina was ranked No. 1 in the category, as “no state turns those lights green any better than South Carolina.” The magazine touted the state’s Small Business Regulatory Review Committee, a group of business owners who review the state’s regulations and have the ability to order economic impact studies and flexibility analyses.

“Our low unionization rates, competitive utility costs and competitive tax structure complement our business-friendly policy environment to make South Carolina a top choice for companies seeking to locate in the United States and in in the Southeast,” said John Lummus, president and CEO of Upstate SC Alliance, in an emailedstatement.

South Carolina was ranked No. 2 behind Georgia in cooperative and responsive state government, and third behind Indiana and Ohio for most improved economic development policies. The magazine cited the state’s manufacturing sector as a “powerhouse and an even bigger economic development winner.”

“New and expanding businesses invested more than $4 billion last year and created more than 17,000 jobs, and the state boosted its exports for the sixth straight year, topping $30 billion,” the magazine said.

Lummus said the Upstate has benefited from the attributes listed by Area Development; 41 companies have announced more than $761 million in capital investment in 2016, creating more than 3,500 new jobs. Lummus said that 16 of the 41 companies announcing new capital investment this year were already in the Upstate, and the other 25 were new.

Area Development's rankings were reached via a survey of site consultants that asked them to rank states in 10 categories “that impact companies’ location and facility plans.” Each response was weighted according to those rankings, with a No. 1 selection receiving three points, No. 2 selection getting two points and runners-up earning one point.

Top states for doing business 2016

1. Georgia
2. South Carolina
3. Texas
4. Tennessee
5. Louisiana

6. Alabama
7. Florida
8. Indiana
9. North Carolina
10. Mississippi

11. Ohio
12. Nevada
13. California
14. Kentucky
15. Arizona

16. Arkansas
17. Oklahoma
18. Michigan
19. New York
20. South Dakota

Source: Area Development magazine

Reach Matthew Clark at 864-720-1222.

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