Forbes magazine has a new ranking on the "Best States for Business" ranking things like business costs, labor, regulatory environment, etc. Pennsylvania came in 33rd on the list (it was 41st in 2006’s ranking). The only indicators on which PA broke the upper third were on regulatory environment (15th, which is surprising given the state’s tort system, but the ranking also measures "incentives, transportation, and bond ratings") and 7th on quality of life (schools, health, crime, etc.).
The five year change in PA’s gross state product was 1.5%, a rate of change that bested only 7 states (IN, MI, MO, NJ, OH, RI, and SC) and was well below that of many states. It is interesting to note the impact of the very important indicator of whether the state was Right-to-Work or not (the list did not contain this data, but we noted RTW states and where they ranked). Of the 25 best performing states on the Forbes listing, 16-almost 3 out of every 4-were Right to Work states. Two gulf coast RTW states (LA and MS) ranked in the bottom ten. Seven of the top ten states were RTW with three western states (CO, OR and WA) rounding out the group.
Only one state-Michigan-had a negative five year change in GSP. Now, which state or group of states is Pennsylvania closer to in its policy prescriptions and outlook?