N.H.’s ‘business friendly’ image takes a hit

The results are in: Virginia is the most business-friendly state in the union. New Hampshire is 17th.The rankings come from CNBC, based on criteria such as the cost of doing business, infrastructure, education, access to capital and quality of life, in a special report released June 28.An article in the Union Leader two days later said, “The Granite State easily outpaced four other New England states. Connecticut, Maine, Vermont and Rhode Island scored near the bottom of the list.”But before you gloat about the “New Hampshire Advantage,” what about New England’s sixth state, Massachusetts?The despised People’s Republic of Taxachusetts came in 11 spots ahead of the Granite State at number six. How could that be? Could CNBC’s methodology have a built-in leftist bias?Not so much.”We scored all 50 states on 43 measures of competitiveness developed with input from business groups including the National Association of Manufacturers and the Council on Competitiveness,” says a network statement.For the record, neither the NAM or the Council are bastions of socialism, progressivism, liberalism, Obamaism, or any of those other conservative bugbears.In fact, the NAM has a history of outright hostility to organized labor and New Deal policies.The Council on Competitiveness, which includes academics as well as CEOs among its leaders, is perhaps less ideologically bound to the interest of big business. We note though, that its claims to include the “heads of national labor organizations” among its members is a bit of a stretch. Only one of its eight board members and one of its 31 executive committee members come from unions. No union officials are listed in its general membership, which includes 90 corporate or academic leaders. None of its 27 national affiliates are unions.According to CNBC, “states received points based on their rankings in each metric. Then, we separated those metrics into 10 broad categories.”The 10 ten categories are: Cost of Doing Business; Workforce; Quality of Life; Economy; Infrastructure & Transportation; Technology & Innovation; Education; Business Friendliness; Access to Capital; and Cost of Living.Union membership is a negative in the “workforce” category.”While organized labor contends that a union workforce is a quality workforce, that argument, more often than not, doesn’t resonate with business,” says CNBC. This is really no surprise. That rankings reveal little correlation to the presence of “right-to-work” laws, which make it harder for unions to organize, is at least worthy of note. So how does Massachusetts, with its above-average union density and its reputation for high taxes and burdensome regulation score so high?Massachusetts ranks particularly well in education (fourth), technology and innovation (third), and access to capital (second).New Hampshire ranks in the top five in only one category, the much heralded and vague “quality of life,” in which the Granite State is second.Perhaps New Hampshire’s real advantage is its proximity to Massachusetts.Arnie Alpert is New Hampshire program coordinator for the American Friends Service Committee.

Categories: Opinion