Florida Ranks 2nd in the Nation for Best Business Climate

By: Melissa Roberts

In 2007, with unemployment skyrocketing and visitation rates plummeting, a Wall Street Journal headlined asked: “Is Florida Over?” But Florida’s turnaround story began in December, 2010. Now just five years later, Florida is being hailed as the foremost model for economic growth.

Florida’s business climate is continually ranked as the best for business. According to a report, Winning Strategies in Economic Development Marketing, Florida ranks second in the nation for having the best business climate, a ranking Chief Executive Magazine echoed in 2014. According to the Tax Foundation’s 2015 State Business Tax Climate Index, Florida ranked fifth for having the most competitive tax system.

Florida’s success comes, in part, from a united business community fighting to make our state more competitive by attracting new businesses and more importantly, new jobs. Targeted investments have been one key part in Florida’s marketing strategy. And with the number one tourist marketing agency in the U.S., Florida certainly knows how to market. Expansions in marketing by VISIT FLORIDA have led to four consecutive record years of growth for Florida tourism, with 97.3 million visitors during 2014. The growth from increased tourism has created jobs in both traditional tourism categories and nearly as many in other categories, such as construction, retail trade, transportation and warehousing, and administrative services.

And while the Florida success story continues to be written, in order to maintain long-term economic growth, Florida can’t rely on sunshine and word-of-mouth alone to tell our story.

“The fact that Florida’s business climate is outstanding shouldn’t be kept a secret,” said Eric Silagy, President and CEO of Florida Power & Light Company. “We have an incredibly compelling story, and we should tell it. People need to know that Florida is more than just a fantastic tourist destination – it’s a place where businesses, both domestic and international, are successfully competing and growing. In this day and age, to communicate effectively and compete in the global economy, Florida needs to have a comprehensive, well-funded and far-reaching marketing plan.”

Other states have figured out that in this competitive environment, marketing programs are necessary investments for recruiting businesses. Spending by Florida’s competitor states include a $200 million marketing campaign by New York, $50 million by California and $25 million by Texas. If Florida can secure the capital needed for a well-funded marketing program, the state can compete on a global scale in attracting new business to Florida and creating high-wage jobs and community growth for the future.

While there are many reasons that states consider relocating, such as a top ranked business and tax climate, many businesses may not be considering relocating or starting new businesses in Florida simply because Florida hasn’t been active in telling the business story. There has been some considerable effort, led by the Florida Chamber, Enterprise Florida and private companies such as Florida Power & Light, to market Florida as an ideal business location. Florida wins when companies choose to locate and expand here. We have seen it first hand with companies like Navy Federal Credit Union, which continue to create jobs and fuel economic growth in their community. As Florida prepares for increased population and the need for more jobs, how do we continue to attract new companies to Florida?

Share Your Story:

What positive stories are happening in your area that others in Florida should know about? We want to hear from you. Email jparrish@flfoundation.org today and share your story.

About the Florida Scorecard:

The Florida Scorecard, located at www.TheFloridaScorecard.com, presents metrics across Florida’s economy. Each month, the Florida Chamber Foundation produces a Scorecard Stat that takes an in-depth look at one aspect of Florida’s economy. If you would like additional information on the Weekly Scorecard Stat or on the Florida Scorecard, please contact Dr. Jerry Parrish with the Florida Chamber Foundation at 850.521.1283.