Virginia falls from ranking as best state for business in new report

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Posted at 5:57 AM, Jul 14, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-14 05:57:40-04

RICHMOND, Va. -- Virginia has been dethroned as the best state in America for doing business, according to a new report from CNBC.

North Carolina took the top spot with Washington scoring the second place spot.

States were scored on 88 metrics in 10 broad categories all tied to economic development and policy.

While Virginia fell in the rankings for 2022, the Commonwealth has fairly consistently ranked in the top five.

Even though there was no ranking assigned in 2020 due to the pandemic, Virginia held the top spot in 2021 and 2019 under former Gov. Ralph Northam, in 2011 under former Gov. Bob McDonnell and in 2007 and 2009 under former Gov. Tim Kaine, according to CNBC.

Last year, CNBC praised Virginia for maintaining its top spot going into and coming out of the pandemic.

"I want us to be the best state for business and that's going to require us to continue to get the cost of doing business and the cost of living down in Virginia," Gov. Glenn Youngkin said in an interview on Wednesday.

From last year to this year, Virginia saw its biggest decline in the categories of workforce and economy, and its biggest improvements in infrastructure and business friendliness.

Barry DuVal, the president and CEO of the Virginia Chamber of Commerce, shared the following statement in response to the fall in rankings:

While Virginia is no longer ranked the #1 state for business according to the CNBC rankings, the state remains a favored location for business and has made great strides over the past few years to restore our competitive position. Today’s rankings confirm that Virginia is a leader in many areas where the Virginia Chamber has been active, notably enhancing our educational system and our recent investments in infrastructure. Unfortunately, the cost of doing business continues to rise in the Commonwealth, making it harder to compete against other states which have aggressively cut taxes and streamlined regulations. We look forward to working with leaders at the state and local level to address these challenges to enhance Virginia’s reputation as a great place to live, work, and raise a family.

Susan Swecker, the chairwoman for the Democratic Party of Virginia, also shared a statement in response:

After inheriting the strongest economy in Virginia's history, Governor Youngkin’s divisive, ineffective start to his governorship has stripped Virginia of its best in America economic standing. For three years in a row, Virginia was the top state for business under Governor Northam and Democratic leadership. Now, after the tumultuous six months of a culture warrior, conservative extremist - our stay atop the mountaintop is over. With Youngkin’s focus on running for President in 2024 and playing to a far-right base, Virginia has lost out on the top state to do business. Governor Youngkin’s culture wars and failed business practices are hurting Virginians and making our Commonwealth less competitive. His political ambition is costing Virginia its world-class economic status - and that is a damn shame.