Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

A Better World; Florida Ranks High for Business Climate

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

A Better World; Florida Ranks High for Business Climate

Article excerpt

Florida works hard at being friendly to business. And it shows in many state rankings.

In the 2013 Business Facilities Rankings Report, Florida finished No. 2 to Texas as having the best business climate. While there is not a lot of difference in many of the finishers, Texas is the clear leader in some categories.

Florida ranked No. 5 in the business tax environment. Texas is just No. 9.

Florida also is No. 4 in workforce training, dominated by Southeastern states.

Business Facilities is a media company specializing in site selection.

"Texas was the first state in the U.S. to bounce back to pre-recession employment levels in 2011 while most of the rest of the country was still digging out of a deep economic trench," the report stated.

Texas has become a global leader in semiconductors and a rising star in bioscience "supported by a world class university system," the report noted.

Florida needs to properly support its universities to remain competitive. Some universities are losing faculty.

But Georgia is no slouch either, finishing No. 5 in economic growth potential, one spot ahead of Florida. In this category, energy is a huge factor. The oil boom puts North Dakota at No. 1.

Florida ranked No. 4 in aerospace/defense and No. 6 in biotechnology employment

What's disappointing, however, is that Florida has not done more in the alternative energy field. Yes, the Sunshine State has plenty of clouds during its subtropical summers. In fact, JEA says the best month for its solar energy facility is January.

But Florida should not be trailing states like Washington and Oregon in renewable energy. Solar energy is growing fast, gaining in economic competitiveness.

And Florida, with its long growing season, should not be in a tie for No. 7 in cellulosic ethanol production. Alabama is No. 1 and Georgia is No. 3.

Another key to state economies is taking care of infrastructure - the roads, bridges and utility systems that must be in place. Here, too, Florida is No. 2 to the leader in Texas.

This metric was carefully measured to include items such as the percentage of bridges and roads in poor condition and estimated 20-year drinking water needs.

RESEARCH ON BRAIN INJURIES

Americans have benefited from medical research into sports injuries. Arthroscopic surgery now is almost routine.

And with the spotlight focused on brain injuries of our military, everyone should benefit.

President Barack Obama has announced a research initiative for veterans with brain injuries and mental health conditions. A $100 million research grant will go to researching brain injuries, mental health issues and especially post-traumatic stress disorder.

As reported in The Washington Post, Obama said the federal government would do a better job of sharing this research among federal agencies. …

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