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VOL. 127 | NO. 134 | Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Talking Tennessee

Haslam promotes state’s business-friendliness for CNBC

By Andy Meek

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Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam and Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey are among the Tennesseans in recent days who’ve participated in a “Twitter battle” ginned up by the cable business network CNBC as part of the network’s annual study of the country’s top states for business.

Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam is helping promote the state through CNBC’s annual study of the country’s top states for business. (Daily News File Photo: Lance Murphey)

In addition to releasing its own ranking of the country’s states on the basis of business-friendliness this week, CNBC this year added a social component to the exercise built around Twitter.

That new social component is designed to be a head-to-head contest driven partly by videos all 50 governors were invited to submit to CNBC explaining why their state is a top state for business.

Those videos are being posted to CNBC.com. Haslam has tweeted a link to his nearly two-minute clip from his official Twitter account, and a link to the video also is available on The Daily News blog, blog.memphisdailynews.com.

Contest participants who want to cast a vote for Tennessee – as Haslam, Ramsey and others from the state recently have done – are encouraged to tweet using the hashtag #TopStatesTN.

“Here’s why my state should get your vote in the CNBC Top States Twitter battle,” Haslam tells viewers in his CNBC clip. “Buying American-made products often means buying something made in Tennessee. … Tennesseans make cars. Nissans, and Volkswagons and GMs. We also make car parts used all over the country.

“The workforce in the Volunteer State makes a wide variety of consumer products. Duracell batteries, Pringles potato chips, M&Ms, Whirlpool appliances and a little Jack Daniel’s whiskey, too. We make computers and solar panels and chemicals that are used worldwide. Our state never gave up on manufacturing in our skilled workforce. So now the world comes to Tennessee to do business.”

The results of the cable network’s Twitter battle will be released Thursday, July 12.

For its own study, CNBC broke down the qualifications for a state’s business climate on the basis of these categories: cost of doing business, workforce, quality of life, infrastructure and transportation, economy, education, technology and innovation, business friendliness, access to capital and cost of living.

If Tennessee does well in the contest, it wouldn’t be the first time this year. In May, “Chief Executive” magazine named Tennessee one of the top four states in the nation for business in its eighth annual survey of the best and worst states for business.

More than 650 chief executive officers rated all 50 states in three general categories: taxation and regulation, quality of workforce, and living environment. Tennessee ranked fourth for the second consecutive year.

“We’re home to 740 foreign companies from 30 foreign countries,” Haslam said in his CNBC video. “If you can buy it, we can ship it. We’re the home of FedEx, and we have five Amazon distribution centers. We also have – and this is important – one of the lowest tax burdens in the country, a state government that lives within its means and a business climate that nurtures entrepreneurs.”

PROPERTY SALES 51 333 19,446
MORTGAGES 68 383 22,433
BUILDING PERMITS 138 688 40,004
BANKRUPTCIES 34 238 12,486