Kansas, Missouri on list of top 10 pro-business states

Missouri and Kansas are two of the best states for business, according to an economic development report released Wednesday by Pollina Corporate Real Estate Inc. and the American Economic Development Institute.

Kansas came in fifth on the list, while Missouri ranks eighth. Overall, both states earned A’s, grades they’ve maintained since 2010.

The “Top 10 Pro-Business States” is an annual study that evaluates job creation and retention, as well as efforts to sustain the middle class. The study uses 32 factors in its evaluation, including taxes, human resources, right-to-work legislation, energy costs, jobs lost or gained and state government-controlled factors.

In the news release about the study, economist Ron Pollina said an increase in technology will lead to fewer jobs, a catch-22 for states that want to compete internationally but keep workers employed.

Pollina said the top 10 states are those that have countered this trend by improving their business environment.

Missouri came up short to Kansas in categories like high school and college completion, workers compensation, regulatory environment and long-term budget planning.

The study ranks states with right-to-work legislation more favorably, giving Missouri an F and Kansas an A in that category.

Both states moved up a spot from last year’s ranking.

In individual report cards, Kansas’ ratings in unemployment rate and unemployment insurance dropped from an A to a B, while the individual tax index rating went from a C to a B.

Missouri shifted its ratings in average teacher compensation and the unemployment ratings up a letter grade from last year; teacher compensation received a D and the unemployment rate earned a B. College completion dropped to a D from last year’s C.

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback and Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon issued news releases about the study Wednesday. Both reacted warmly to their respective state’s ratings.

In order, this year’s top 10 are Utah, Wyoming, Nebraska, Virginia, Kansas, North Dakota, Indiana, Missouri, South Carolina and South Dakota.

Pollina Corporate Real Estate Inc. is a brokerage and consulting firm in Park Ridge, Ill.