SOURCE: Milken Institute

August 16, 2007 09:00 ET

Hawaii, New York and Alaska Most Costly States for Business, According to Milken Institute; Electricity Costs Impact Rankings

LOS ANGELES, CA--(Marketwire - August 16, 2007) - Hawaii, New York and Alaska are the most expensive states for businesses, maintaining the top three spots for the second consecutive Milken Institute Cost-of-Doing-Business Index. All three states increased their overall year-over-year costs. A major factor in the rankings is the cost of electricity.

South Dakota, meanwhile, maintained its position as the least-expensive state for business, decreasing its costs to 30 percent below the national average.

The Cost-of-Doing-Business Index measures wage costs, taxes, electricity costs and real estate costs for industrial and office space.

The biggest mover in this year's index was Maine, moving up 11 spots to 17th from 28th, thanks in large part to higher electricity costs, which jumped from six percent above the national average in the 2006 rankings to 43 percent above the national average in this year's rankings.

Mississippi, which moved up eight places, also had an increase in electricity costs. Mississippi's change in its ranking reflects other states' abilities to contain or even decrease electricity costs during the same period.

Of the states that moved down the rankings most, Michigan leads the pack in reining in its costs, moving from 13th place in the 2006 rankings down to 20th. Michigan had a slight increase in all of the rated factors, but dropped down because those states ranked near it had more pronounced increases.

The Cost-of-Doing-Business Index indicates each state's comparative advantages or disadvantages in attracting and retaining businesses. Each state is measured on the five individual categories, and those weighted scores are compiled to make the overall index. An index score of 100 means that the state is equal to the U.S. average in that particular category.

This year, the states with the highest and lowest costs by category are:

Highest: Connecticut
Lowest: South Dakota

Highest: Vermont
Lowest: New Hampshire

Electricity costs
Highest: Hawaii
Lowest: Idaho

Industrial space costs
Highest: Hawaii
Lowest: Iowa

Office space costs
Highest: New York
Lowest: Iowa

Ten Most Expensive
Rank    State           Index
 1      Hawaii          151.5
 2      New York        130.9
 3      Alaska          130.8
 4      Massachusetts   130.6
 5      Connecticut     127.5
 6      California      122.9
 7      New Jersey      120.9
 8      Vermont         110.2
 9      Delaware        110.1
 10     Rhode Island    108

Ten Least Expensive
Rank    State           Index
 50     South Dakota     70.2
 49     Iowa             79.7
 48     North Dakota     81.3
 47     Nebraska         82.3
 46     Idaho            82.8
 45     South Carolina   82.9
 44     Montana          84.1
 43     Missouri         84.6
 42     Tennessee        85.2
 41     Arkansas         85.4

A 2006 Cost-of-Doing-Business Index was also recently completed, analyzing newly-available data from January through December 2005.

The 2007 and 2006 Cost-of-Doing-Business Indexes, sponsored by the California Manufacturers and Technology Association, are available on the Milken Institute Web site:

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