For states to succeed in today's global marketplace, they have to look beyond just keeping taxes low and competing for jobs regionally.
In Tennessee, we put as much effort into ensuring our state continues to have an attractive business climate as we do economic development recruiting. By constantly working to make the state's business climate better, we are working toward long-term economic competitiveness as well as short-term economic wins.
Tennessee is the best state for business because we pair our business community's proven track record of scaled growth and innovation with an approach by the public sector to constantly upgrade our business climate.
(Read more: Top US states for new manufacturing jobs)
Government gets too much credit—good and bad—for the economy. After all, government does not create jobs. It is the people who are willing to take risks and invest capital that are the real job creators in America, building their businesses one decision and investment at a time.
Here are five things about Tennessee that make us the best state in the country for business:
Our business community has some of the world's best success stories and brands:
Tennessee has an entrepreneurial DNA as a state that is second to none. Companies like HCA Healthcare and Cracker Barrel—dominant, national brands—began as Tennessee companies. They choose to stay here and do business today.
(Read more: The new geography of American prosperity)
Often, companies choose to relocate to Tennessee. That happens in part because our brand as a state reinforces their brand as a company. We make things with a craftsman's approach in Tennessee—cars, whiskey and guitars. We also grow companies here and support an entrepreneurial ecosystem that encourages growth and scalability in companies.
We embrace our role in the global economy:
Some states view their competition as their own border states. In Tennessee, we compete across the globe for business. We are also experts at welcoming other cultures to the state and courting foreign direct investment.
Our state has $25.6 billion in foreign direct investment from 33 different countries over five continents. We are second only to California in our level of FDI [foreign direct investment] from Japan.
Tennessee recently launched a new export program to get Tennessee small to medium-sized businesses export ready. We maintain a robust schedule of trade missions and global efforts to promulgate the Tennessee brand.
As a state, we have decades of expertise at welcoming foreign direct investment to Tennessee from every corner of the world. One of our more recent partnerships with the Fiat/Chrysler affiliate Magneti Marelli, is bringing 800 new jobs to the state.
Tennessee supports innovation:
Private sector leaders have partnered with our state government to help create a new, statewide support system for entrepreneurs in Tennessee.
Our state spends over $3 billion a year on research and development, as well as being home to the largest national laboratory in the U.S.
We also host a regional dialogue about innovation and investment, inviting companies and investors from across the South to an annual conference where the region's entrepreneurial ecosystem is featured.
In this new economy, entrepreneurship and innovation will help drive the next American economic revolution and will create the companies of tomorrow. We are working very hard to make that happen in Tennessee.
We understand business and it shows:
Our administration has worked with our state legislature to pass a number of reforms to make Tennessee a welcoming state to entrepreneurs and businesses.
We reformed the state's tort system to provide clarity and certainty to the business community.
We have also invested heavily in the future of our state, and we are leading the country in public education reform.
As a state we also have one of the best balance sheets in the country, as well as one of the lowest tax structures. In fact, we have begun the process of repealing our inheritance tax, and we have no state income tax.
(Read more: Most improved states for business)
With each passing legislative season, we have pursued public policy and common sense reforms that make it clear we understand the needs of business.
Quality of life in Tennessee is exceptional:
When companies choose to grow or relocate, they must evaluate their options. Tennessee is a great place to live, work and raise a family.
Our cities are regularly recognized for their livability and amenities, and our rural areas offer pastoral beauty and a small town experience. The choices here for recreation, outdoor activities and entertainment are endless. Tennesseans are arguably the friendliest people in the country.
When one's work life comes to a close, Tennessee is also recognized as the best place to retire in America.
(Slideshow: Top states for quality of life)
Being the best state for business means taking a holistic aproach to a state's business climate—encouraging growth, progress and maturation in all areas that impact business decisions. We believe we do just that in the Volunteer State. Tennessee is the best state for business in the U.S.
—By Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam
Read more blogs from U.S. governors here.