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Forbes: South Dakota 14th Best State for Business, Behind Minnesota, NE, IA, ND

I must have missed the Pierre press release on this one....

Forbes this month issued its ranking of the Best States for Business for 2014:

Rank State Business Costs Rank Labor Supply Rank Regulatory Environment Rank Economic Climate Rank Growth Prospects Rank Quality of Life Rank Population
1 Utah 5 4 9 6 10 16 2,923,000
2 North Dakota 9 9 18 4 2 24 733,200
3 North Carolina 4 7 2 24 9 31 9,901,400
4 Virginia 24 2 1 12 33 5 8,292,700
5 Colorado 35 1 13 8 4 9 5,307,800
6 Texas 13 11 16 1 1 33 26,654,300
7 Nebraska 8 22 9 2 46 14 1,873,500
8 Washington 20 6 30 17 6 29 7,002,500
9 Minnesota 33 18 22 7 23 2 5,439,200
10 Oklahoma 7 31 14 5 15 41 3,865,900
11 Delaware 2 8 26 31 27 36 930,000
12 Iowa 11 39 11 9 42 12 3,099,200
13 Massachusetts 49 3 33 11 16 1 6,719,000
14 South Dakota 1 16 31 10 45 30 848,500
15 Indiana 10 45 3 28 31 15 6,585,000
16 Georgia 27 21 4 38 13 38 10,019,900
17 New York 45 30 20 3 17 10 19,688,400
18 Oregon 12 12 39 32 8 35 3,946,100
19 Florida 38 10 15 36 7 32 19,708,200
20 Maryland 41 5 36 16 32 8 5,947,300

Four of six adjoining states outrank South Dakota, whose Republican leaders portray South Dakota as a business haven.

Forbes ranks South Dakota #1 for low business costs (including labor, energy, and taxes), compared to Minnesota, whose 33 in that category is its lowest ranking in Forbes's six metrics. Forbes says it weights business costs most heavily, but Minnesota turns the tables on South Dakota in four other categories, most notably quality of life, where South Dakota ranks 30th while Minnesota ranks #2.

Further showing that you get what you pay for is the split between South Dakota and Massachusetts. That den of East Coast liberal sin offers the second-highest business costs among the states, but it offers the top quality of life. Massachusetts also offers better prospects for growth, ranking 16th compared to South Dakota's 45th.

We were 17th on the Forbes list in 2010 and 2011. We jumped to 12th in 2012, then peaked at 11th in 2013. Minnesota jumped from 20th in 2012 to 8th in 2013. Minnesota beat South Dakota in 2010 and 2011.


  1. Tim 2014.11.22

    That's just great, I can hear Daugaard now, dumping the minimum wage increase, cutting taxes to nothing on business, and paying for it with more education cuts because, well, we all know our teachers are so overpaid.

  2. Tim 2014.11.22

    It would appear, based on the rest of SD's numbers in that chart, that Republicans "business friendly policy" is a complete failure. So why do people here keep voting for them, does everybody here own a business?

  3. Wayne Pauli 2014.11.22

    It does not surprise me at all that South Dakota ranks 30th in the quality of life metric. Our people do not count. But if we keep them under educated and under appreciated they will not know better than to vote Republican. Who are the four states worse than us in the metric of growth prospects? Nebraska is on that list, but the others...

  4. Paul Seamans 2014.11.22

    South Dakota's legislature/governor's idea of economic growth is to build mega dairies and CAFO's, mine uranium, and then store the waste that's the end result of that uranium mining.

  5. 96Tears 2014.11.22

    Thank God Almighty the seven states without income taxes provide such a huge advantage to business investments. The Lord’s Chosen States who’ve kept the largest burden on those who can least afford it (and still pamper and preen for investments from The Lord’s Chosen One Percent) are:

    • Texas – rated #6 on Forbes’ Best States for Business.
    • Washington – rated #8 on Forbes’ Best States for Business.
    • South Dakota – rated #14 on Forbes’ Best States for Business.
    • Florida – rated #19 on Forbes’ Best States for Business.
    • Wyoming – rated #27 on Forbes’ Best States for Business.
    • Nevada – rated #34 on Forbes’ Best States for Business.
    • Alaska – rated #38 on Forbes’ Best States for Business.

    And that brings to mind this question, “which gutless Capitalist Republican in South Dakota’s Legislature is going to find the courage and give South Dakota the advantage our state needs to rise higher in Forbes’ Best States for Business by introducing the income tax?”

    No heroes in the Republican Caucus? How about Governor DD? Where is your courage, man???

    Better yet, why not just admit that you Republicans have been lying to the people of South Dakota for the last 40 years about the value of income taxes to sustainable economic growth?

  6. grudznick 2014.11.22

    Flat tax, Mr. 96 eye drops. Flat tax.

  7. 96Tears 2014.11.22

    Starving out the entire education system seems to be the present route. I'd get behind a state flat tax if the money went toward state funding for pre-school to university levels.

  8. grudznick 2014.11.22

    I'm on board with your idea, Mr. 96, if and only if the money could go to good teachers and less the to slackards. When our smart teachers come up with a way to figure out how to hold themselves and their peers accountable and stop the socialization, more money will flow into their pockets.

  9. 96Tears 2014.11.22

    Brother Grudzick - There may be a path forward in that department too, as long as the metric is enforced by people who are qualified to do so. Education in South Dakota has been an exercise in keeping afloat a severely leaky boat.

  10. Les 2014.11.22

    I'm for the income tax, Grud. It's about time those school teachers pay their fair share. They can then give themselves the raises they deserve. It's a win win. Truthfully we don't have to look far to see states doing a much better job. Mt, and Ne have similarities to work with.

  11. Deb Geelsdottir 2014.11.22

    96 Tears, Sarcasm is one of my favorite languages. I'm bilingual - English and Sarcasm. Perfectly fluent, though I'm clearly not alone in that.

  12. grudznick 2014.11.22

    If it's a flat tax, Mr. Les. The days of "tax just you to pay some special interest group more" really fires up the gall in a about 75% of the population and they will poop out bricks of vile if the teachers try that again.

  13. Deb Geelsdottir 2014.11.22

    Grudz, my theory is that you had a mean teacher in grade school who embarrassed you in front of your classmates when you were just a little shaver. The experience scarred your little psyche for the rest of your life. Now your assumption is that all teachers are nasty, evil people, unless they unquestionably prove otherwise to you.

    Am I close?

  14. grudznick 2014.11.22

    You truly are a perceptive woman, Ms. Geelsdottir. One of your most attractive non-physical qualities. But that was only the beginning.

  15. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.11.23

    96, good breakdown of the absolute lack of correlation of income tax with business ranking!

  16. larry kurtz 2014.11.23

    Just saw an article that the happiest states in the US are those with an income tax but darned if i can find it this morning: Montana was #6 on the list.

  17. Deb Geelsdottir 2014.11.23

    Grudz, you are such a flatterer. And please don't stop.

Comments are closed.