Why Not Give Iowa a Try?

Many pages in my notebook have been filled by officials telling me that tax increases will scare off businesses and are the last thing that ...
by | August 30, 2006

Iowa_1 Many pages in my notebook have been filled by officials telling me that tax increases will scare off businesses and are the last thing that Michigan-Buffalo-you name it needs.

An equal number of pages have been filled by those who say that the important thing is attracting businesses is investment in infrastructure and education because you can't get employers to come unless you have a great workforce.

I won't pretend to settle this argument here (I'll let you know when I'm ready), but it was echoing in my head as I read this story about how Iowa ranked in Forbes' latest ranking of best and worst states in which to do business.

Forbes declared that Iowa had the best quality of life in the country (can that really be true, given the weather?) and some of the lowest costs of doing business. But it ranked right in the middle, at number 25, on the overall list.

The reason was the quality of its workforce -- or lack thereof. Only West Virginia, Mississippi and Louisiana have less desirable workers to choose from, says Forbes. Those three states all fall in the bottom five, along with Maine and Alaska.

So obviously Iowa's vaunted quality of life and its respectable costs, tax and regulatory environment pulled it up into the middle. But a bad workforce, by the magazine's lights, certainly dragged it down.

Photo via Flickr, from Shriram.

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