Kentucky’s Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) ranked their home state the 25th best state in which to do business, according to Chief Executive magazine’s annual Best and Worst States for Business survey. The Bluegrass State jumped four notches, up from 29th in 2013.
The Best and Worst States Survey gauges the sentiment of 500 participating CEOs on a variety of measures that they themselves view as critical. These include the tax and regulatory regime, the quality of the workforce, and the quality of the living environment. The rankings are crucial, as CEO sentiment drives investments in offices, factories and other facilities that bring jobs to a region.
Revenue from Kentucky tourism increased in 2013. In addition, corn farming generated over $1 billion in revenue last year, while grain farming contributed 43,000 jobs and $31 million in revenue
“Absolutely, there is a very positive feeling in the state right now,” said Dudley Cooper, Executive Director of the Leitchfield/Grayson County Industrial Development Incorporated. “I spent last Friday with economic developers in Louisville, and there’s (a business) optimism within the state that we haven’t seen in years.”
That good feeling begins with interest from outside industries, which potentially leads to increased business opportunities for communities.
“We are getting more attention from industry; the interest in the county is very positive right now,” Cooper flatly stated. “It’s just so nice for our state to be in the top half of the states (in the rankings). Many times we (Kentucky) come in 46th, 48th, 49th in so many of these polls with education and economic development, so it’s been a very encouraging couple of years, in my opinion.”
Cooper sees Grayson County’s business base continuing to grow, powered by outside business interest, but augmented by investing in the community.
“For the state to be experiencing the expansion we are experiencing and with most of our companies hiring right now, (that) creates a great feeling,” Cooper said. “You always want to be attractive (to business), and every project in our county counts. Whether it be renovation around the square, new buildings, or facelifts (to existing buildings); just a general interest in investing back in the community is wonderful for us.
It’s not only attracting new businesses and investing in the community that’s important to maintaining vital local economic development, but current business expansion is often seen as a key component in keeping a county’s economy strong.
“There are several expansions in our county in the works, Cooper said. “I know that the hiring services that serve Grayson County are seeing a lot of people; they’re screening and recommending them (for local positions). We’re blessed with good products in Grayson County, and the industries are thankfully growing and expanding. So we’re in a really nice (business) posture right now. You look at Clarkson and Caneyville and Leitchfield. There’s just a general pride in the communities. We’ve got a lot more to come.”