Forbes Magazine: Oregon ranks #6 in the country for business; anti-taxers heads explode

Carla Axtman

Being a hater on Oregon's business climate as an excuse to flog massive tax cuts for the rich has gotta suck right now. Why? Cuz nobody who can actually read will believe it.

Matthew Kish, Portland Business Journal:

A new study by Forbes magazine ranks Oregon the sixth-best state for business and careers. Oregon ranked No. 10 last year.

Utah received the No. 1 rank, taking the top spot from Virginia. Maine ranked last.

The study is based on six categories: costs, labor supply, regulatory environment, current economic climate, growth prospects and quality of life.

Hear that? That's the sound of all the Measure 66 & 67 opponents heads exploding.

Comments

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    Doesn't matter. Jack Roberts and the whole GOP menagerie will be repeating that broken record about how Oregon is anti-business.

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      And they would be wrong. That said, not being anti-business does not mean the state is pro-business either. Which it isn't.

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        Yeah, because the tax-abatements that many always scream about as being corporate give-aways in order to get companies to locate here is not being "pro-business" at all, right?

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    I guess there is more than one way to the top of the list...

    Utah lowered its corporate tax rate from 7% to 5% in 2008, to the delight of businesses. The rate is now one of the lowest in the country. The regulatory climate is also pro-business, with the Pacific Research Institute rating Utah second-best in the regulatory component of its U.S. Economic Freedom Index. "We want to make sure we don't have any nonsensical regulations that inhibit the private sector from expanding and having a profitable bottom line," says Hebert.
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      You are right. If you really wanted to have a way to ensure businesses were profitable and free to expand, you would make sure that you would have a large population of employed people with enough surplus funds to buy goods and services.

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      And additional economic strategic vision Utah has that Oregon lacks is its strengthening of foreign language programs (especially Mandarin, Spanish and French immersion) in their educational system. They're getting the jump on Oregon in going after global markets.

      Oregon has maybe 15-20 public foreign language immersion programs (mostly Spanish). Utah is moving to mainstream immersion and had 51 this past summer with 14 more starting up now this fall.

      See my blog post "Utah: 'Our main goals is to mainstream immersion.'"

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      Super low corporate taxes combined w/ little regulation may be great for maximizing corporate profit and scoring high on the Forbes list, but that doesn't exactly equate to a high quality of life for ordinary people. All of us want a healthy and vibrant business environment but getting to the top of the Forbes list may not be what is best for families, for people, for the common good.

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        Quality of life rank:

        UTAH 18

        OREGON 21

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          Not my quality of life in Utah. Shows how some of these surveys are based on statistics that don't reflect what people think it means.

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            These ranking polls are stupid. For example, the very thing that might make you live in Portland might make me never live there. But, they fill up websites...

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              Yet it didn't stop you from posting them did it?

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              Frankly it's stupid to make blanket statements about the meaning/value of these type of polls/studies. If one is interested in quality of life for ordinary people, i.e., quality of healthcare, education, rates of violent crime, income equality, social justice, gender equity, rates of poverty, levels of happiness, etc., there are ways to determine who is doing it well. The democracies that are producing the happiest and healthiest societies on Earth are relatively speaking, very progressive and not very religious (which to me is by definition progressive.) "Society w/ Out God," a book which I have previously recommended demonstrates this in great detail. So if we're looking for formula's that work we ought to be looking at places like Denmark, Sweden, and Finland. I'll take a wild guess and say that Oregon will not improve our quality of life rankings on any list by decreasing taxes on the wealthiest and reducing the minimum wage. That will come by investing more in people.

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      If you're a talented person being sought after by two companies and all else being equal, one offers you a job in Utah and another offers you a job in Oregon--where are you most likely to go?

      Same with corporations, I suspect. While there may be some financial incentives to move to Utah, there are some significant down sides to overcome.

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        I don't know that Utah has those negative connotations today. Utah seems to be a pretty popular place to live today. Of course, high job growth will do that for ya.

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      In the Forbes article, the number one state's governor is also quotes as saying:

      "We have a fiscally conservative government where we are trying to keep government off your backs and out of your wallet. We want the free market do what it does best."

      If that attitude from Oregon's political leaders would help make our business climate even better, I hope Blue Oregon readers would agree, but I doubt it.

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        Why would I agree with something that, in context, is silly?

        Look at the full Forbes ranking of states. Some of the most fiscally conservative states are near the bottom: Missisippi, Louisiana, Alaska and Kentucky, for example.

        Some of the most progressive states are near the top: Washington, Oregon, Maryland and Massachusetts.

        Let's do stop pretending that eliminating taxation and regulation make for the best business climate. It's demonstrably false.

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          And yet 10 of the 12 states on the list are reliably RED. 8 of the bottom 12 are BLUE.

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            Which means what...exactly?

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            Wait a sec...I just went back and looked again.

            Which states are you considering "reliably red"?

            The current governor of Colorado is a Democrat. A Democrat currently leads to take the job in an anti-incumbent year. Both chambers of the legislator are in Democratic control.

            Both of their US Senators are Democrats and this cycle it's very tight--even with anti-incumbency.

            "Reliably red"? Really?

            North Carolina hasn't had a GOP governor since 1993. The Dems have the majority in both chambers of their legislature.

            I think you might want to update your "reliably red" list.

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      I'm glad to be wrong where you are concerned, Jack. I'm not wrong about your candidate, Chris Dudley, and your party, who continue to promote the same lie that Oregon is anti-business. And the idiocy promoted by Chester above, that having environmental protections is anti-business also is also a lie promoted by your party.

      Headline in the Statesman-Journal this morning, Home Depot is opening a regional warehouse in Salem with 250 new jobs. I'm also extremely delighted that Trader Joe's is opening a new store in Salem within walking distance of my home.

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      Jack - Maybe Massachusetts is ranked so high is because I believe everybody in Massachusetts as Health Insurance.

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      This is the criteria they use for reg environ:

      Measures regulatory and tort climate, incentives, government integrity, transportation and bond ratings.

      I hear this complaint so often but I can never get anyone to give specifics of exactly what regulations are hurting us.

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        I still have a hard time looking at that set of criteria and seeing Washington at 5th and Oregon at 34th.

        In my experience, I've found the complaints about Oregon over-regulating business as overstated. There are a lot more regulations today everywhere, and for good reason.

        People have a tendency to compare Oregon today with their experience in other states 10, 20 or 30 years ago. It's not the same.

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      I wonder how much you would tout our business climate if your job didn't require you to do so? I doubt someone in your position would last very long spewing the standard Rescumlican line of crap about Oregon being anti-business.

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      One reason quality of life isn't higher is because of our public schools. They are under funded and don't rank well nationally. For example, we didn't make Race to the Top. And the US Dept of Ed shows us hovering around the national average ( http://nces.ed.gov/nationsreportcard/states/ ). That's not impressive. If we were to tax enough to adequately fund them, I'm certain Oregon's quality of life rank and therefore overall rank would improve, IMHO. Invest in the future and fund schools!

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        I agree that Oregon schools need work. But I've never understood why "Race To The Top" was something we'd want here. More federal money tied to federal mandates--which basically means jacked-up test scores. No thanks.

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    The way I interpret that poll all Oregon really needs to do to get to #1 is to clean house and clean up it's meddlesome and intrusive regulatory environment. You know the one Kitzhaber and his radical envirowhackjob friends have buried the state in. The other category Oregon did well in was supply of labor force ...no kidding thats because 1/2 the state is unemployed or underemployed time or cange we can believe in

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      Please identify the specific "meddlesome and intrusive" regulations that should be repealed, and explain how they are hurting business.

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    Oregon rated business friendly and moving up according to Forbes -- it must be a liberal conspiracy! Quick, let's screw up the economy again so we can blame democrats and get re-elected.

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    You have to want to live in Oregon. I am a transplant from California. I can't convince even my most progressive friends to move here because of the weather. I think even if the job market was red hot up here, we would always lag a little bit behind the rest of the country because people just naturally make a mental connection between the words "Oregon" and "rain". And some people are REALLY adverse to rain as though you told them we get 180 days of sniper fire annually.

    Happy Friday Folks!

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    Oregon has ranked high in all the objective surveys on business climate for years. It is only subjective rankings of anti-tax folks that give us low points and this is only because we have high personal income taxes, not business taxes.

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    A business-friendly environment doesn't always equate to something tangible. It's often the attitude, or the pace at which a local, state, or regional government is willing to work to be innovate, responsive, and have a problem-solving approach.

    For those of you who haven't seen, Sen. Wyden has issued a press release asking the BPA to find ways to solve power infrastructure issues so facebook can continue to expand and create jobs in Prineville. Unfortunately, BPA's timeline for upgrades to its system aren't scheduled until 2014 - well beyond the needs of facebook. And this isn't just a facebook issue: other users (large and small) also face power access issues due to substation, transmission, or other upgrades needed to access power within the system.

    My point is this: if a state or any jurisdiction is unresponsive to the needs of businesses, and isn't willing to solve problems, then that can create an "unfriendly" business environment. I work with site selectors (the consultants that companies hire to find site locations), and if they believe a state or region is too difficult to work with - even if it has great assets - they will advise their clients to go elsewhere.

    Having a good quality of life, access to services, health insurance, etc., or even a low ranking in terms of overall tax burden doesn't always equal success in terms of creating family-wage jobs. If the regulatory environment is too cumbersome through land-use, planning, permitting, power acquisition or water and sewer capacity - then businesses will go elsewhere.

    This is reality. I've seen it happen, and this is the world in which I operate on a daily basis.

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    There is a fine balance in the stats. Many people in Oregon tend to be very anti-business voting taxes against businesses every chance they get. The fact is progressives hate producers and want them out or want their earnings. It is a peasant voter class of non-producers vs those who simply want to make a living. There is a total ignorant class warfare mentality here where people rent their home and vote for property taxes, where they do not produce anything, nor pay taxes nor give to charity and they vote for social programs. This is why Oregon has an anti-business reputation with many people. On the other side of the issue once we remove the peasant voter and tax issues, Oregon is very easy to start a business in. Many businesses in Oregon are not a highly regulated as they are in other states and this tends to help Oregon. It is very easy for example to incorporate here. You can do it in 5 minutes online. There are many fields in Oregon one can go into without State oversight. Another great attraction for example is no sales Tax (even the peasants won't vote for that since they too purchase goods). Less paperwork for small businesses helps new people start up. If you look at the rest of the nation, Oregon is fairly free in comparison because those same peasants who vote in taxes often vote against expanding the police state. With the bad comes the good as well. While taxes are a form of coercion so are right wing police state polices. One can cancel out or even overcome the other to some extent. I have a dream that one day we will all be free and we will not have to choose between left wing and right wing statism. That we will choose liberty and justice for all.

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      Peasants? Totally ignorant class warfare? You are not very persuasive, in fact these are quite offensive statements.

      If I rent I pay property taxes though the rent. Do you think landlords do not calculate their tax burden in the rents they charge?

      Progressives do not hate producers, most of us are indeed producers. Our labor is what gets things done.

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      Unless you have a very high 6 figure income, you probably pay lower taxes than you would in most states. Oregon has the lowest business taxes in the West.

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      I don't know what to say except ... WOW, you must really love that libertarian / Ayn Rand Kool-Aid.

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      re: "peasants" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G2y8Sx4B2Sk

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        Thanks for the constructive feedback :) regarding the Overworld limitations and linearity, I only felt it limited in the sense that you aren't truely able to 'explore' fully in the way that could in other Zelda games - remember the underground caverns you could once find? - and quite frankly I miss that and it is basically linear in the sense that your destination is already chosen, yes you are still exploring and in a wonderful new way but this Overworld 'Transport' also highlights the limitations of what Nintendo can do with a 3D Zelda game on the DS but what they 'have' achieved is still impressive and I do acknowledge that fully.sağlık

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      The fact is progressives hate producers and want them out or want their earnings.

      You forgot that we hate kittens as well. You comment is about the dumbest statement I have read in quite a while.

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        I will answer all the responses at one. I was really expecting more likes than I got:) Keep in mind the peasants never think they are being peasants. Yes your landlord can add taxes to your rent, but there is a thing called the market where you can only charge so much for rent before the house sits empty, the peasants know this and that is why they vote more taxes on the land owners. To the British gent: I suppose I could move to Afghanistan (it would not be very fun), but my position is not against taxes or against Oregon, but I suppose your solution is to make everyone move who does not agree with your agenda. I am not surprised. My position is against peasants. Please read again. Regarding Ayn Rand, I am wanting liberty and justice for all no matter what your belief or race. If that is cool aid, I will have some more.

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      I suggest you try Afghanistan or Somalia where you won't have to pay taxes or have a police state. Life is good there.

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