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Top Ten Business Ideas for Wyoming

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									                  CALIFORNIA BUSINESS MINUTE
                         -About the Businesses and Economy of California-
                                Ranked, Rated and Graded
                                   for Business 2008


Last year the California Business Minute produced ‗California: Ranked, Rated and
Graded for Business’. It was the first attempt to present the headline catching ‗best‘,
‗finest‘ or ‗hottest,‘ etc., lists that ranked or rated locations. And by no means was it
comprehensive. But even with that, it now appears that it was the first of its kind. It was
a presentation that identified a compilation of annual rankings of cities, regions and
states, specifically how they showcased California and its communities.

These annual rankings are produced by a host of organizations that look at a variety of
business topics. Last year‘s edition was an instant hit among the business, community
and economic development professions but also site location consultants. And it also
became an excellent educational tool, acting as a one stop source for a wide range of
interested professionals but also for state and local politicians looking to ascertain and
understand the business and economic dynamics of their communities and the state as
it compares to others.

So, even though as noted earlier, it was anything but complete, it nonetheless became
a valued product. So, for this apparently much awaited second annual edition, it takes
on an increased value to the user. This year‘s edition provides the opportunity to see
and evaluate changes year-over-year, positive or negative as illustrated from their
rankings. In addition, during the course of the year, research found more rankings,
either new or less known that have been added subsequently enhancing this edition.

For example, older established annual rankings include the Small Business and
Entrepreneurship Council‘s ‘Small Business Survival Index.’ It illustrates how well a
state, through public policy creates a nurturing environment for entrepreneurial activity
and the development of small business. Another ranking is the ‗State Business Tax
Climate Index’ by the Tax Foundation which ranks the states by their tax rates. Yet
another is the ‗Metro Area and State Competitiveness Reports’ produced annually by
the Beacon Hill Institute from Suffolk University. Several other key competitive rankings
include those published by the Center for Enterprise Development, now known solely as
CfED, Money Magazine/CNN, Sperling‘s Best Places, INC Magazine,,

               California: Ranked Rated and Graded for Business 2008              1
Fortune and Expansion Management Magazine. And these stalwarts will be joined by
others who released new lists and rankings such as the American Business Journal
Publications, Popular Science, AeA, Kiplinger‘s, Relocation America coupled with
support from the Census Bureau.

Be they older and established or brand new, these rankings all attempt to rank a city,
region or state by its economic business climate or some business or economic
variable. Like those identified in the 2007 edition, they are multi-dimensional -based
upon a variety of elements that are subsequently weighted or prioritized and then given
an overall ranking based upon a composite score yielding a ranking, rating or grade.

It is fun to use these indices, especially when your community or state fares well in one
of these rankings. And admittedly, on the flip side it can be a public relations nightmare
if not ranked well. But all is not lost if not ranked well. The ranking can provide insight to
help frame public policy and work programs to improve an economy by utilizing the data
presented for your community while examining the successful ranked states and
communities, thus learning from their efforts and experiences.

However, one must ask, how significant are these indices towards enhancing a
community or state? Specifically, how significant are these rankings based upon a scale
or index from a consultant or by an editor or publisher who may have never been to
your community and seen first hand the work you have achieved to build a diverse and
sustainable economy?

While it may be difficult to ignore these reviews, specifically if your community or state is
consistently ranked at the bottom, it also evokes the issue for those involved in
community and economic development how much they should take these rankings to
heart. Is it wise to spend the time analyzing the ranking and how it was derived by
determining its methodology, identifying the weight or priority to each category
measured, (if available) and to determine how to improve your community or state. And
if it is available, ascertain if it would help in formulating a response to the real question
you must ask - who and what are you building your economy for? Many if not all of
these surveys do not drill down far enough to ascertain key questions such as, how
many primary wage earning income jobs were created and retained? How many
companies did you recruit, retain or expand that pay a liveable wage? Were your efforts
compounded by a natural disaster?

For example, the city of Yuba City, was named not once but twice by Money Magazine
and Rand McNally as the worst on their list of ‗Best Places to Live.‘ Yet during an 11
year period, it had multiple natural disasters including two major floods. This was a
public relations fiasco. The community was desperate to reverse this moniker.
Unfortunately, they failed to understand that the key issue is not lashing back in public
by burning the magazine, but by creating a diverse and sustainable economy. It took
years to reverse this unfortunate ranking, but once the community leaders determined
that it was not only prudent but valuable to build a strong economic foundation by
diversifying their natural resource based economy and embracing innovative

                California: Ranked Rated and Graded for Business 2008                2
technologies to do so, the community was awarded not once but twice by
with the ranking of the ‘Best Rural Location for Business‘ in California and also in their
top ten rankings in the nation.

This year, the city of Stockton has been the blunt of a similar low ranking. But again, it
is important to figuratively roll with the punches and continue to perform work that will
reverse such a rank, and it appears they are doing exactly that

But now it is time, to see what these rankings mean for California, its cities and regions.
Thus, the following is - California: Ranked Rated and Graded 2008.

                California: Ranked Rated and Graded for Business 2008              3
                               RANKINGS AND RATINGS

CfED, Corporation for Enterprise Development, a Washington D.C. based think tank
provides a variety of rankings, most notably its ‘Development Report Card for States’.
The Report Card is based upon 67 measures to provide a relative state by state
assessment of economic development, assigning grades in three categories:
Performance (economic climate for the wage earner) Business Vitality (economic
climate for a business) and Development Capacity (how a state is positioned for the
future). For 2007 California received a grade of C for Performance, a grade of A for
Business Vitality and a Grade of C for Development Capacity equaling a B- or C+
depending how you calculate the grades.

This year CfED presented its 2007-2008 ‗Assets and Opportunity Scorecard‘ which
measures how easy or hard it is for families across the nation to achieve the American
dream.      It examines six key areas: financial security, business development,
homeownership, health care, education, and tax policy and accountability. Based upon
this Scorecard, it illustrates that Californians face mixed prospects when it comes to
their opportunities to build and preserve assets. On one hand, the state's households
have the 11th highest average net worth in the country. On the other, the state ranks
36th in asset poverty — the proportion of households without sufficient assets to subsist
above the poverty level for three months if income were to be interrupted. The state's
homeownership rate ranks near the bottom, and the state has the second most
unaffordable home prices, relative to wages in the nation. However, the Scorecard
identified that California provides a hospitable and inclusive environment for small
business ownership, with the 10th highest ranking in small business ownership, 4th
highest in African-American business ownership, and 6th highest ranking for the value
of women-owned businesses in the nation. However, the state's citizens also face an
unusually high risk of asset loss and financial insecurity due to their lack of health
insurance; California ranks 44th in the nation in employer-sponsored health insurance,
and 42nd in its percentage of uninsured low-income children. Overall, the state earned
a C grade in the 2007-2008 Assets and Opportunity Scorecard.

There were ten states that received an A grade. But, California ranked higher than New
York, Texas and Florida and for the most part higher or equal to its western neighbors,
with the only exception being Hawaii which received an A. California ranked higher or

               California: Ranked Rated and Graded for Business 2008            4
equal to 31 states. Ten states received grades of D and 5 states received grade F. the electronic media for Forbes magazine produces its annual rankings of
the states based upon being ‗Business Friendly’. The basis for this ranking is predicted
upon several factors: Business costs, labor rates, regulatory environment, economic
climate, growth prospects and quality of life. The 2008 edition ranked California in terms
of ‗business friendly‘ against the other states dropping California to 40th from its 34th
ranking in 2007, and former 36th position in 2006.

The Tax Foundation annually publishes their ‗State Business Tax Climate Index‘,
the SBTCI. The SBTCI places 113 variables into five component indexes that each
measures a different sector of a state‘s business tax climate. The five component
indexes are the Corporate Tax Index, Individual Income Tax Index, Sales Tax Index,
Unemployment Tax Index and Property Tax Index. The total score for each state is
calculated based on the scores on each of the five component indexes. Using the
economic literature as the guide, they designed five component indexes to score each
state‘s business tax climate on a scale of zero (worst) to 10 (best). Each component
index is devoted to a major area of state taxation and each has two equally weighted
sub-indexes, some of which include several categories and variables under them.
Overall, there are 10 sub-indexes and 113 variables.

And contrary to public opinion, California is not the highest taxed state in the union, this
prestigious ranking remains again with Rhode Island which has held that position for
several years. But California did drop from 46th to 47th year- over- year.

Rounding out the top ten highest taxed states are Rhode Island, New Jersey, New York,
followed by California, Ohio, Iowa, Vermont, Nebraska, Minnesota, Maine and North
Carolina. On the other side of the ledger, Wyoming, South Dakota, Nevada, Alaska,
Florida, Montana, New Hampshire, Texas, Delaware and Oregon are the top ten lowest
taxed states.

Yet another state ranking comes from The Beacon Hill Institute which produces its
annual ‘State Competitiveness Report.’ The Report assigns 42 variables to eight
categories – government and fiscal policy, security, infrastructure, human resources,
technology, business incubation, openness, and environmental policy – and combined
these eight measures into a single ―competitiveness index‖.
California finished 20th in the 2006 report but dropped to 24th position in 2007 again due
to previous and similar issues in 2006 where the state has poor rankings with
government and fiscal policy and issues of infrastructure. Otherwise it might have
ranked in the top ten.

The Small Business and Entrepreneurship Council, a national based organization from
Virginia presented its twelve annual ‗Small Business Survival Index’. This Index ranks
the 50 states and District of Columbia according to some of the major government-
imposed or government-related costs affecting investment, entrepreneurship, and
business. The Index ranks the states according to their public policy climates for

                California: Ranked Rated and Graded for Business 2008              5
entrepreneurship. This Index ties together 31 major government-imposed or
government-related costs impacting small businesses and entrepreneurs across a
broad spectrum of industries and types of businesses. It is an index that ranks the policy
environment for entrepreneurship across the nation. The ranking is comprised of a
series of reviews involving the following: personal income tax rates, capital gains rates,
corporate income tax rates, state and local property tax rates, state and local sales,
gross receipts and excise taxes, adjusted unemployment rate, number of health
insurance mandates, electric utility costs, worker‘s compensation rates, crime rates,
number of bureaucrats, state gas tax rates, state and local government spending and
their spending trends. Last year‘s edition identified the 2006 report, (the latest reported
at the time of this presentation) and California was ranked 49th in the nation. South
Dakota was ranked number one. In the 2007 edition, the results were exactly the same.

California remains the nation‘s number one ‗Cyber State‘ as identified by the AeA,
(formerly the American Electronics Association). AeA, the nation‘s largest technology
trade association representing all segments of the high-tech industry, released its
annual Cyber States report detailing national and state trends in high-tech employment,
wages, and other key economic factors. The report, Cyberstates 2008: A Complete
State-by-State Overview of the High-Technology Industry covers all 50 states, the
District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. California's high-tech industry added 21,400 net
jobs – a two percent increase – for a tech industry total of 940,700 in 2006, the most
current state data available. This marks the second net increase in jobs since the tech
bubble began to burst in 2000. Leading the way in job creation were the computer
systems design and related services sector (+12,600 jobs) and the engineering services
sector (+6,100 jobs). The report found that California continues to lead the nation by
most high-tech industry metrics. California's tech workers had the highest average wage
at $101,200 which is 112 percent above the state‘s average private sector wage an
three percent higher than from last year. This differential is also the highest in the
nation. Venture capital investments increased eight percent to $13.8 billion in 2007, up
from $12.2 in 2006 accounting for 47 percent of all venture capital in the country.

City and Regional
INC Magazine presented its annual list of ‗Hottest Places to Do Business’ in 2007 and
several California cities were on top of the list. For example, Sacramento ranked 15th
on Inc. magazine's ‗Hottest Places to Do Business‘ list of Top 20 large cities in 2007.
Inc. defined ‗large cities‘ as those with an employment base of 450,000 or more, and its
researchers focused on job growth data to measure a region's economic strength. But,
unfortunately, for 2008, Sacramento is not on the list. In fact California's had only two
cities on the ‗Large City‘ 2008 ranking; Riverside-San Bernardino at 24 and San
Francisco-San Mateo-Redwood City at 29. While the Riverside-San Bernardino area
ranked highest on the ‗Largest Cities‘ list, they dropped from the Overall Ranking list
among California cities, placing 26th in 2007 but dropping to 136 in 2008. Bakersfield
ranked the highest in 2008 at #38. Other California cities of note: San Diego was 164 in
2007 dropped to 224 in 2008. Fresno however ranked 223 in 2007 but rose to 159. Los
Angeles also rose from 283 to 274. San Francisco too rose from 317 to 149 and so did
San Jose from 356 to 181. Unfortunately, Sacramento fell from 108 to 186 in 2008.
               California: Ranked Rated and Graded for Business 2008              6
Stockton ranked 106 but in another poll will be ranked one of the top ten most miserable
cities in the nation. Santa Cruz/Watsonville ranked 111; Merced ranked 135; San Luis
Obispo/Paso Robles ranked 147; Napa 183; Chico 185; Redding 203; Santa
Rosa/Petaluma 211; Salinas 219; Modesto 246; Santa Ana-Anaheim-Irvine 265 and
Oxnard Thousand Oaks 300.

Three entities released their rankings for the ‗Best Places for Business‘ in the nation.
Forbes, Kiplinger‘s and Relocation America have provided their rankings. While there
are some cities that appear on the lists from the three, such as Raleigh, Boise and Des
Moines, the top ten could not be more divergent. For example, in the case of
Relocation America‘s rankings, there is not one city from California in the top ten, but
Sacramento is ranked number 8 by Kiplinger‘s.

Relocation America                       Kiplinger’s                   Forbes
Charlotte                               Houston                        Raleigh
San Antonio                             Raleigh                        Boise
Chattanooga                             Omaha                          Fort Collins
Greenville, SC                          Boise                          Des Moines
Tulsa                                   Colorado Springs               Lexington
Stevens Point, WI                       Austin                         Atlanta
Asheville                               Fayetteville, AK               Richmond
Albuquerque                             Sacramento                     Olympia
Huntsville                              Des Moines                     Spokane
Seattle                                 Provo                          Knoxville

But Forbes also publishes a list of the worst or most miserable. Forbes magazine
surveyed 150 metropolitan areas and ranked them according to unemployment,
personal tax rates, commute times, weather, crime and superfund sites. Stockton has
been ranked the second-most miserable city in the nation, according to the ranking by
Forbes magazine. Stockton's population soared 28 percent over the past 10 years and
home prices jumped 158 percent between 2000 and 2005, but they have fallen the past
two years, as Stockton has one of the highest foreclosure rates in the country. The city's
violent crime, which is one of the worst in the nation on a per-capita basis, also figured
into the ranking. Modesto, ranked as the eighth-most miserable city in America, was
marked down because of unemployment -- 8.7 percent in 2007. That is down from the
early 1990s, when it topped 15 percent. Forbes ranks the following as the worst or most
miserable: Detroit, Stockton, Flint, New York, Philadelphia, Chicago, Los Angeles,
Modesto, Charlotte and Providence.

Of greater interest related to the divergence illustrated in the rankings is that in
Relocation America‘s, ‗Top Ten Best Places in the Nation’ it ranks Charlotte, North
Carolina as number one. However, Charlotte is ranked number 9 in the ‗Top Ten Most
Miserable Places in the Nation’ by Forbes. You be the judge.

In addition, publishes a list of the ‗Best Places for Business and Careers’
which is based upon cost of doing business, job growth and educational attainment and
population. Unfortunately, no communities from California can be found on the top 50
of their Metro Area list of 200 communities. Riverside is the highest ranked community
                    California: Ranked Rated and Graded for Business 2008             7
at the 78th position. And as it relates to their smaller communities list, Chico is the
highest ranked community at 98 out of 200.

In yet another analysis, but on small business, the Business Journals (BizJournals)
released their 2007 (latest available) rankings of the ‗Best Locations for Small
Business’. Their methodology‘s goal was to identify the metropolitan areas that are most
conducive for the creation of small businesses. They defined small business as 99 or
fewer employees. The study covered the nation's 75 largest metropolitan areas. They
ranged from New York City, with a metropolitan population of 18.75 million as of 2005,
down to Poughkeepsie, N.Y., with 667,000 residents. BizJournals used a 12-part
formula to rate the vitality of each market's small-business sector. These were the 12
factors: Concentration of small businesses, expressed as a ratio per 100,000 residents;
Two-year (2003-2005) change in concentration, expressed as a percentage (as are the
following nine changes) Five-year (2000-2005) change in concentration; Two-year
change in the total of small businesses ; Five-year change in the total of small
businesses; Two-year change in population; Five-year change in population; Two-year
change in private-sector employment; Five-year change in private-sector employment;
Two-year change in private-sector payrolls; Five-year change in private-sector payrolls ;
Average pay per private-sector worker, expressed in 2005 dollars. While the state of
Florida had several cities that were ranked the highest, California had several
communities on the list, including Oxnard-Thousand Oaks at #9, San Diego #12,
Sacramento #23, Los Angeles #25, Riverside-San Bernardino #28, San Francisco #29,
San Jose #49, Bakersfield #58 and Fresno #67.

Fortune Small Business, magazine's (FSB) presented its inaugural list of the ‗Best
Markets for Entrepreneurs’. FSB scoured the country for towns that combine a great
business environment with alluring leisure offerings. The magazine studied 296 metro
areas for their business friendliness and lifestyle offerings. Factors included tax rates,
job growth, airline flight connections, parks, arts venues, healthcare centers and
temperature. Then the analysis narrowed it down to specific towns within the metro
areas by population growth, crime rates and housing costs. The magazine also talked to
entrepreneurs, government officials and business experts. Nine cities from California
made the list, more than any other state. See list below:

#4 Marina del Ray
#11 American Canyon
#16 Novato
#32 Carlsbad
#66 San Jose
#68 Ventura
#69 Danville
#76 Folsom
#78 San Louis Obispo

Interestingly, none of these presented are on the Business Journal list, but many are
located in the metropolitan areas identified such as Folsom to Sacramento.

               California: Ranked Rated and Graded for Business 2008             8
The AeA released an update of its report, Cybercities 2008: An Overview of the High-
Technology Industry in the Nation’s Top 60 Cities. It examines the high-tech industry in
the nation‘s largest metropolitan areas focusing on employment, wages,
establishments, payroll, concentration, and wage differential. It also compares different
regions of the United States and delves into the 16 sectors that comprise AeA‘s
definition    of      the      high-tech   industry       for     these     60       cities.
The report is based on data from 2006 US Bureau of Labor Statistics. The metropolitan
data in Cybercities 2008 is directly comparable to the 2006 state data presented in
Cyberstates 2008. Cybercities 2008 also contains the most recent national data on the
high-tech industry, including employment statistics for 2007. As it pertains to California,
on a percentage basis, Riverside-San Bernardino, saw the fastest job growth in 2006 at
12 percent. Fifty-six cybercities had wage differentials higher than 50 percent and two,
San Diego, and Sacramento – had differentials higher than 100 percent. San
Jose/Silicon Valley led the nation in concentration of high-tech workers in 2006, with
286 high-tech workers per 1,000 private sector workers. San Jose/Silicon Valley
dominated the manufacturing sectors. It ranked near the top in seven of the nine high-
tech manufacturing categories.

In addition to high tech, a report by the Entertainment Software Association, places
California as the leader in video-game development and publishing in the nation. The
report identified that nearly 35,000 Californians are employed in this industry singularly
the largest population employed in the industry nationally, the state of Washington at #2
has 9,400 employed in the industry. The report identifies that as a state, California
accounts for 40 percent of the total employment nationwide.                The average
compensation for employees in the sector in the state is $100,410. In the report, it was
identified that the split between game developers and publishers is about even in
California as compared to lop-sided ratios in other states. In 2006, the computer and
game industry in the state grew by 12.3 percent, nearly 3 time faster than the state‘s
overall growth and added $1.7 billion to the state‘s economy. Nationwide the industry
grew by 6 percent in 2006 to $7.4 billion almost tripling industry software sales since
1996. Worldwide sales are at $20 billion and are forecasted to be $25 billion by 2009

Which cities are the greenest of them all? If a new national survey is any indication,
they are from the Pacific Coast and specifically California‘s Bay Area. San Francisco,
Oakland and Berkeley made the top 10 of a national survey by Popular Science
magazine rating ‗The Nation’s 50 Most Environmentally Friendly Cities’. California
dominated the survey, with 14 cities on the list, enough to turn other states green with
envy. The survey combined data from the U.S. Census Bureau and the National
Geographic Society‘s Green Guide, which collected survey data and government
statistics for American cities with more than 100,000 people in categories including air
quality, electricity use and transportation habits. Portland, Ore., grabbed the top spot,
while San Francisco ranked No. 2. ―I‘m not surprised,‖ said Sean Randolph, chief
executive of the San Francisco-based Bay Area Council Economic Institute to the
Kansas City Star. ―California has always been more environmentally attuned than other
states. The Bay Area attracted about a billion dollars last year for research in alternative

                California: Ranked Rated and Graded for Business 2008              9
energy technology.‖ Randolph illustrated a $500 million grant from BP Oil for developing
biofuels given to the University of California-Berkeley, as well as a $125 million grant
from the U.S. Department of Energy also given to the university. The list includes:

San Francisco #2
Oakland #4
Santa Rosa#23
San Bernardino#47
Thousand Oaks#48

Forbes magazine recently released their list of the 400 Richest Americans. California
leads the nation with 25 percent of the list coming from California.
Now, the wealthiest Bill Gates resides in Washington. However, Larry Ellison, Oracle is
fourth; Sergey Brin and Larry Page from Google are tied at fifth and Kirk Kerkorian is
seventh. The majority of California‘s richest reside in Los Angeles or in San Francisco a
close second or in each of their suburbs. 40 percent of the top ten richest in the nation
are from California. California leads the list of the states with the most residents on the
list followed by New York and then Texas comprising 52 percent of the total number of
people on the list.

A new nationwide study ranking the nation by a combination of education, income and
health by congressional districts illustrates California‘s quality of life. The report was
completed by the nonprofit, American Human Development Project. The results found
that 4 of the top ten districts were in California:
District #14, South Bay Area
District #48, Orange County
District #30 Los Angeles County/ San Fernando Valley
District #12 North Bay Area
6 of the Top 20 were from California and they include:
District #15 Silicon Valley
District #8 Marin

Unfortunately the 20th District in Kings County was dead last. The report identified that
people in this district earn on average 1/3 of what people earn in the Bay area and are
10 times less to hold a bachelor degree and have a life expectancy of 77 years. The

                California: Ranked Rated and Graded for Business 2008             10
report was funded by Oxfarm, the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation and other non-profits.
The report will be updated every two years.

The US Census Bureau released a report on the ‗Fastest Growing Cities’ in the nation
from 2006-2007. California and Texas dominated the fastest growing cities, both in the
recent annual data and in the data from 2000 through 2007. California and Texas each
placed five cities on the list of the 25 fastest-growing cities between 2006 and 2007, as
well as on the list of the 25 biggest numerical gainers for the period. The Census
Bureau identified that the second fastest growing city in the nation was Victorville,
whose population climbed 9.5% to 107,221. Victorville's population passed the 100,000
mark for the first time in 2007. Other fastest growing California cities include
Bakersfield, Elk Grove and Roseville. Cleveland suffered the largest numerical decline
in population from 2006 to 2007, followed by Columbus, Georgia; Baton Rouge,
Louisiana. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and Baltimore, Maryland.

Money Magazine‘s-CNN ‗Best Places to Live’ is always a controversial ranking. Their
rankings are based on 43 elements in 8 categories from financial, health, housing,
education, quality of life, leisure and culture, weather and neighborhood information. In
2006 only the southern California community of Santa Clarita was ranked in the top 25
at number#18. Livermore was ranked #31, Folsom #34, Simi Valley #35, Rancho
Cucamonga #42; San Diego was ranked #5 for the best big cities. In their 2007 list,
Claremont is ranked #5, La Palma #16, LaMirada #34, Clayton #57, Moorpark #62,
Granite Bay #74 El Dorado Hills #77 and Grand Terrace #92. In 2008, Irvine is ranked
the highest city from California at #4. Roseville was ranked 90th, followed by Fountain
Valley at 91st and Sunnyvale at 94th. Note the lack of consistency from year to year.

Fortune released its list of the ‗100 Best Companies to Work For’ and California
companies were prominently positioned in the list. In fact four of the top ten companies
were from the Golden State and California had more companies on the list than any

             Google                        Mt. View
             Genentech                     South San Francisco
             Cisco Systems                 San Jose
             Qualcomm                      San Diego
             Nugget Markets                Woodland
             Vision Service Plan           Rancho Cordova
             Intuit                        Mt. View
             Scripps Health                San Diego
             eBay                          San Jose
             Mattel                        El Segundo
             Granite Construction          Watsonville
             Yahoo                         Sunnyvale
             Adobe                         San Jose

               California: Ranked Rated and Graded for Business 2008             11
The New York based Natural Resources Defense Council, a nonprofit environmental
organization, released its second annual report ‗Ranking States’ Oil Vulnerability and
Solutions for Change‘. The 20-page document identifies each state‘s vulnerability to
spikes in oil prices, and highlights each is doing ‗to break their addiction to oil.‘ The
vulnerability rankings are based on the percentage of personal income spent on
gasoline in each state in 2007, including state and federal taxes. California tops the list
among states NRDC says are doing the most to wean themselves from oil. Alaska is
last. Heavily weighted in Council‘s assessment is the use of vehicles that use less
gasoline. In 2002, California was the first state to pass a clean car standard that would
require all new cars, trucks, sports utility vehicles and minivans to meet pollution limits
by the 2009 model year. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency denied California a
waiver it would need to implement the law. California has since filed a lawsuit against
the EPA and has been joined by multiple states as well challenging the EPA‘s ruling.

Lastly, Forbes magazine recently released a list identifying the ‗America’s Fastest Dying
Cities’ and no California cities made the list. Surprisingly, while California cities have
unfortunately been rated low or high on a host of lists, the cities of the Golden State are
anything but dying economically speaking. So no California cities are on this list! But,
the ‗Rust Belt‘ communities have this list tied up tighter than a hungry boa constrictor for
its prey. These metropolitan statistical areas, as defined by the U.S. Census Bureau,
face fleeing populations, painful waves of unemployment and barely growing
economies. Ohio leads the top ten with four cities, Canton, Cleveland, Dayton and
Youngstown. Michigan follows with two: Detroit and Flint. Detroit‘s Mayor has recently
done a short stint in jail and Flint has been in this nightmare for decades. The list also
includes Scranton, Pennsylvania; Springfield, Massachusetts; Buffalo, New York and
Charleston, West Virginia. And while none of these cities are facing the housing
foreclosure rates of California, they did not have the run up in prices let alone the
building that went with it creating the corresponding growth.

So for those ranked, rated and graded as the ‗Best‘, you know how difficult it is to stay
on top and in front of the media. For example, in the Money Magazine/CNN Best Places
to Live Index, not one of California‘s communities from the 2006 list was even ranked in
the top 100 for 2007 let alone for 2008.

So, even if you have a diverse and sustainable economy or have hired the best
publicist, it is hard to ascertain how one makes or doesn‘t make these lists, yielding to
the question what is a community to do? We don‘t have any ideas, but we do hope this
has been insightful.

If you have a new list of ‗best‘ of something for business for 2009 or know of one that
you would like to share, please contact us.

                             California Business Minute
                             P.O. Box 233108
                             Sacramento, CA 95823

                California: Ranked Rated and Graded for Business 2008             12

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