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Indiana cheapest for cost of business but has low quality of life

The Indiana Soldiers' and Sailors' Monument in downtown Indianapolis. CNBC ranked Indiana 16th nationwide in its annual list of America's Top States for Business.


Indiana ranked 1st nationally in cost of doing business and infrastructure, but has one of the worst qualities of life in the country, according to CNBC annual list of America’s Top States for Business.

Utah ranked 1st overall in the nation for doing business in the study, scoring well on economy, taxes, unemployment and job growth. Indiana ranked 16th, and Illinois was 24th, according to the financial cable news network, which is available in 80 percent of households with television and has hundreds of thousands of viewers.

According to CNBC, Indiana ranked 8th nationally for cost of living, 13th for business friendliness, 18th for access to capital, and 20th for economy. But from there, things got much worse.

The Hoosier state placed 26th in technology and innovation, 29th in education, and 36th in workforce. Indiana’s worst ranking was for quality of life, which was 45th nationally. Only Tennessee, Arkansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, and West Virginia were deemed worse places to live.

“Low costs and strong infrastructure converge in the Crossroads of America, but quality of life is a bit bumpy,” the CNBC study stated.

Indiana economic development officials launched a Regional Cities program aimed at improving Indiana’s quality of life by bankrolling projects like trails and riverfront development in downtown Fort Wayne, but Northwest Indiana lost out in the first round of funding.

Illinois ranked 1st nationally in access to capital and 4th in education. But the Land of Lincoln was 48th in business friendliness, and below average in quality of life, economy and cost of living.

Illinois had a corporate tax rate of 7.75 percent as compared to Indiana’s corporate rate of 6.5 percent, according to the study. Indiana’s has since dropped to 6.25 percent.

CNBC bases its study on 60 different measures of competitiveness that are based on public data and weighed on how often they’re used in the state’s own economic development marketing.

“That way, we grade the states on the criteria they use to sell themselves,” CNBC stated in a press release.

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Business reporter

Joseph S. Pete is a Lisagor Award-winning business reporter who covers steel, industry, unions, the ports, retail, banking and more. The Indiana University grad has been with The Times since 2013 and blogs about craft beer, culture and the military.