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Kansas good for business, dead last or what?

TOPEKA — The Kansas Department of Commerce shared some good news Thursday — Kansas ranks 8th on a list of most business-friendly states put together by an Illinois-based real estate group.

"We have worked diligently over the past 18 months to create an environment that will encourage business expansion and job growth in our state,” Kansas Commerce Secretary Pat George said in a news release.

While that may be seen as good news, looking back a few years in the Pollina Corporate Real Estate Inc polls shows Kansas is slipping in their rankings from 6th last year and 7th in 2010.

Business climate rankings vary widely, depending on methodology and who is doing the ranking. In May, Thumbtack.com ranked Kansas 11th. The Department of Commerce says Forbes ranked Kansas 12th in its most recent “Best States for Business” report.

In some surveys and rankings, Kansas falls near the middle. But when it’s near the top or bottom, it often makes news and/or political fodder.

During this summer’s campaigns, voters heard that Kansas comes in “dead last” in private sector job growth and that companies like Boeing are leaving because of its business climate.

The mixed message wasn’t lost on Wichita Republican Sen. Jean Schodorf, who was defeated by Wichita City Council member Michael O’Donnell after a bitter campaign this summer.

“It’s ironic that only 3 weeks ago, the Chamber of Commerce was touting Kansas dead last as the worst state in the nation for business development. I wonder what they will have to say now,” she wrote on her Facebook page.

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