Texas, a perennial powerhouse, ranks second in this year's America's Top States for Business. The state has held the top spot three times—2008, 2010, and 2012—and has never come in below No. 2. It ranks at the top in CNBC's Economy category along with Infrastructure and Transportation, and second in the Technology and Innovation ranking. Last year, it had a real GDP growth of 4.8 percent, the second highest in the nation. The state's also projecting an $8.8 billion surplus.
The Lone Star State has taken an aggressive approach to luring business into its borders. The man driving it all is Gov. Rick Perry, the face of the state's Texas Wide Open for Business campaign. He has taken direct aim at states like California. "Building a business is tough but I hear building a business in California is next to impossible" the governor says in radio add catering to California entrepreneurs and business owners.
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Recently he hit the road for Silicon Valley in an attempt to win favor with the region's start-ups. The aggressive maneuvers to siphon off some of The Golden State's business grabbed the attention and ire of California Gov. Jerry Brown, who called Perry's attempt "…barely a fart." The Texas governor now has his sights set on New York, which has seen a recent rise in start-ups. Last month, Texas launched a radio ad, like the one running in California, aimed toward grabbing business away from the Empire State.
Despite all of Texas' efforts to attract business, the state ranked 35th in our Cost of Doing Business category due in part to high utility costs and rent. The state also needs to do some work in other problem areas like Quality of Life, where it ranked 41st. Unemployment is at 6.5 percent and a significant number of Texans are without health insurance. When it comes to health insurance, the governor has dug his heels in telling Senior Correspondent Scott Cohn last year "Texas decided a long time ago that we weren't going to burden people and force them to buy insurance."
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—By CNBC's Anthony Volastro.