Tax Benefits

"Wyoming has the best business tax climate of all 50 states.  The Equality State earned a 7.67 ranking in the Tax Foundation's latest business tax climate comparison."
Wyoming has best business tax climate
by Kay Bell, Don't Mess With Taxes - January 29, 2012
Even in today's global economy, the stiffest and most direct competition that states face often comes from other states.

With that in mind, the Tax Foundation last week issued its eighth annual State Business Tax Climate Index. In calculating the rankings, the Washington, D.C., nonprofit takes into account dozens of state tax provisions to come up with each state's score against the tax climates of every other state.

"Tax competition is an unpleasant reality for state revenue and budget officials, but it is an effective restraint on state and local taxes," notes Mark Robyn, an economist with the Tax Foundation and author of the background paper on the Index.

State lawmakers nowadays need to be more concerned with companies moving from Detroit, Mich., to Dayton, Ohio, rather than from Detroit to New Delhi, says Robyn. Paying attention to other states' tax policies, he says, will help them more efficiently allocate resources because businesses can locate in the states where they receive the services they need at the lowest cost.

"When a state imposes higher taxes than a neighboring state, businesses will cross the border to some extent," says Robyn. "Therefore states with more competitive tax systems score well in the Index because they are best suited to generate economic growth."

So which state should the other 49 be looking to as a tax policy model and looking out for as a competitor? Wyoming.

The Equality State earned a 7.67 ranking in the Tax Foundation's latest business tax climate comparison.

In addition to putting it atop that list, that number is this week's By the Numbers figure.

It's no secret that a big part of Wyoming's top rank is because the state has no personal income or corporate tax.

That's a tax trend found in many of the nine other states that join Wyoming on the 2012 best tax business climate top 10 list: South Dakota, Nevada, Alaska, Florida, New Hampshire, Washington, Montana, Texas and Utah.

Just like Wyoming, Nevada and South Dakota have no corporate or individual income taxes. Alaska has no individual income or state-level sales tax. Florida has no individual income tax. New Hampshire and Montana have no sales tax.

At the other end of the list is New Jersey.

Leading up (down?) to the Garden State are Iowa, Maryland, Wisconsin, North Carolina, Minnesota, Rhode Island, Vermont, California and New York.

And the state that made the biggest move in the rankings? Illinois.

Unfortunately for the Prairie State, it wasn't in a positive direction. Illinois fell 12 places, from 16th place in 2011 to 28th place in 2012.
Best States to Make a Living 2012
by Richard Barrington, Money Rates Columnist - April 11, 2012

Where is the best place to make a living? In today's tough economy, it's an especially relevant question. A recent CareerBuilder survey found that 44 percent of workers said they'd be willing to relocate for a job opportunity.

For the second year in a row, sought to answer this question through a state-by-state look at four things:

    Average income
    Cost of living, based on the ACCRA Cost of Living Index
    State income tax rate (based on the bracket for the state's average income)
    Unemployment rate

To determine rankings, this study uses an adjusted average income figure based on these factors. This figure is intended to provide insight into the earning environment of each state, and determine which places fare best -- and worst -- when all four variables are taken into account.
The 2012 winners

When compared to the 2011 results, the 2012 rankings reveal a high degree of consistency in the top 10 states. Seven states from last year's top 10 repeated that feat this year. However, the analysis did yield a new champion: Virginia jumped from fourth place in 2011 to first place this year, while last year's number one, Illinois, swapped places with Virginia, falling to number four.

Here are's 10 best states to make a living:

1. Virginia (Adjusted average income: $43,677)

 In jumping from fourth to first, Virginia improved its adjusted average income figure by $2,557. This year, Virginia enjoyed a best-of-both-worlds scenario in which its average income rose while its cost of living fell slightly. The state also saw its unemployment rate drop to 6.2 percent, which is well below the national average.

2. Washington ($43,662)

 Washington repeated in the second position this year. While it held steady in the rankings, Washington did not stand pat, as its adjusted average income figure increased by $2,206. Like Virginia, Washington benefited from rising average incomes and a falling cost of living, while also making progress on its unemployment rate.

3. Texas ($42,816)

 Another state that held its position from last year was Texas. Texas and Washington both benefit in this analysis from having no state income tax, which helped more of their average income count toward the adjusted average income figure.
4. Illinois ($41,865)

 In dropping from the top spot, Illinois saw its adjusted average income figure fall slightly from 2011's tally of $41,986. This was primarily due to two factors: a rise in the state income tax rate, from 3 to 5 percent, and a bump in the state's unemployment rate. Despite this, a relatively high average income helped Illinois stay near the top of the rankings.
5. Colorado ($40,490)

 Colorado made a strong move, climbing from ninth last year to fifth this year. Colorado saw its average income rise while its unemployment rate fell by almost a full percentage point -- both factors that helped it raise its adjusted average income figure.
6. Michigan ($40,421)

 The revitalization of the auto industry no doubt contributed to Michigan's success, helping it to crack the top 10 for the first time. A big factor was a huge improvement in the state's unemployment rate, which dropped by nearly two full percentage points in the last year.
7. Wyoming ($39,745)

 Wyoming made the top 10 for the first time this year, after narrowly missing last year in the number 11 spot. Wyoming benefits from a relatively low unemployment rate, and from having no state income tax.
8. Utah ($39,250)

 Another newcomer to the top 10 this year is Utah, which climbed 13 places from last year. Utah benefits from having cost of living and unemployment figures that are well below the national averages.
9. Delaware ($38,802)

 Ranked fifth last year, Delaware slipped a bit this year, but still hung onto a top 10 position. Delaware benefits from a high average income, though over the past year the state's cost of living grew faster than the national average.
10. Massachusetts ($38,793)

 Another state that benefits from high incomes but is also experiencing a rapid rise in cost of living, Massachusetts slipped from the sixth position in last year's standings.

States that climbed

Besides the top 10, there were states that deserve a mention for making big gains over last year. Topping even Utah's 13-spot climb, Florida gained 18 places to rank 17th this year, and Nevada was the biggest gainer of all, climbing 22 spots to the 18th position.

Unfortunately, any ranking is going to have losers as well as winners, so be sure to see the companion piece on this year's Worst States to Make a Living, as well as the rankings for all 50 states.
Wyoming ranked in top 10 for business
by the Star-Tribune staff - July 15, 2012

Wyoming is one of the top 10 states in the nation when it comes to doing business, in part because it has the strongest overall economy of any state, according to a study by CNBC.

Wyoming ranked No. 10 overall in CNBC’s six annual list of America’s Top States for Business, a press release said. In 2011, the state was ranked 21st in the same study.

To determine the rankings for America’s Top States for Business, each state was scored — using publicly available data — on 51 different measures of competitiveness developed with input from business groups including The National Association of Manufacturers and The Council on Competitiveness, as well as the states themselves. States received points based on their rankings in each metric, which were then separated into ten broad categories: Cost of Doing Business, Workforce, Quality of Life, Infrastructure & Transportation, Economy, Education, Technology & Innovation, Business Friendliness, Access to Capital and Cost of Living.

The state’s economy was among the leading reasons for the high ranking, the study said. Wyoming was ranked No. 1 in overall economy, up from No. 2 a year ago.

“A solid economy is good for business. So is a diverse economy, with access to the biggest players in a variety of industries. We looked at basic indicators of economic health and growth,” the study said in explaining Wyoming’s top ranking.

The state also scored high in quality of life (No. 9) and the cost of doing business (No. 10). The quality of life score — which was based on several factors, including local attractions, the crime rate, health care, and air and water quality — was down from No. 4 a year ago, while the cost of doing business score jumped from 34th to 10th, the study said.

Wyoming ranked near the bottom in technology and innovation at No. 48. Still, it was an improvement over the previous year, in which it ranked at the very bottom.

Overall, Wyoming showed improvement in six of the 10 broad categories, while dropping in two — quality of life and workforce (from No. 11 to No. 20) — and remaining the same in two others — access to capital and cost of living.

Nationally, Texas took the top spot in the rankings, followed by Utah, Virginia, North Carolina and North Dakota, which was ranked right behind Wyoming in the overall economy category. Rhode Island was judged to be the worst state for business by the study.

The complete 2012 America’s Top States for Business list can be found at