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“Chief Executive” magazine’s annual survey of CEOs to see how they view the business climate in all 50 states ranks Texas as No. 1 for the 16th straight year in a row, while New Jersey finished near the bottom again at No. 47.

Only Illinois (No. 48), New York (No. 49) and California (No. 50) scored lower than New Jersey, according to the “Best & Worst States for Business” survey of CEOs that was published earlier this year.

Despite the shutdown of much of Texas’ oil industry due to the coronavirus recession, the Lone Star state remains popular with CEOs because of its business-friendly policies, according to CEO magazine’s Dale Buss. Employers are attracted to Texas because it does not have a state income tax, has low business taxes, friendly regulators, a reasonable cost of living and a diverse and growing workforce.

New Jersey, despite its ranking of No. 47 by CEOs, does have positives in its favor, the magazine said. The Garden State remains a leader in the biosciences industry and is home to major facilities of more than a dozen of the world’s largest biopharmaceutical companies. There are 20 Fortune 500 companies headquartered in New Jersey, including Johnson & Johnson, Prudential, Merck, Becton Dickson.

The availability of qualified workers and government incentives tied to workforce preparation are high on CEOs’ wish lists, the magazine noted. However, New Jersey’s major economic development incentives, such as GROW NJ, have expired without the Legislature and governor enacting replacement programs.

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