Opinion

Washington business-friendly? Since when?

Last week, another survey of some major-company CEOs came out that said Washington state was a good place to do business.

Odd.

Why is it we hear this stuff only from people who mostly don’t do business in Washington state?

According to ChiefExecutive.net, Wash-ington state is the 30th best place to do business in America.

While 30th ordinarily doesn’t accord anyone particular bragging rights, it’s better than 40th, which is where Washington state was ranked last year.

So we’ve gone from wretchedly wretched to merely wretched.

The top states, Texas, North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and Nevada are known as being business-friendly. They’re all low-tax, minimal-regulation and, unless I miss my guess, right-to-work states.

The bottom states, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Michigan, New York and California (bringing up the rear) are all known as business-unfriendly to the point of hating.

California is a unique fiscal basket case that would be, were it a horse, shot to put it out of its misery.

High taxes, heavy-handed regulation and powerful — mostly public sector — unions pervade these states.

Nothing was mentioned about the methodology of the survey, the criterion upon which it was based, exactly who responded or what.

Frankly, that it was from big-company executives makes me suspicious.

I would hazard a guess, for example, that none of the survey respondents own or manage a Washington state convenience store that sells candy, gum, soda pop, bottled water or tobacco products.

The Washington State Legislature and Gov. Christine Gregoire just did their level best to blow a hole in the bottom of the convenience store industry by hiking taxes on all these items — the items that people go to convenience stores to buy.

And the service sector — lawyers, accountants, plastic surgeons — all saw their Business and Occupation taxes jacked up.

But who needs them, right?

Next year it’s anyone’s guess as to who will be in the sights of greedy politicians.

How long before Washington state dukes it out with California for anchor man bragging rights?

Surveys work only for those who publish them and those who tout them when it suits their interest. But the best and most reliable survey is still walking down the street looking at how many storefronts or factories are boarded up.

Until “For Lease” or “Going Out of Business” signs make it to the endangered species list, I’m not buying anymore self-serving surveys.

Scott St. Clair blogs for the Evergreen Freedom Foundation.

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