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The independent research firm Pollina Corporate Real Estate has put Utah on the top of its list of the Ten Pro-Business States for 2012.
Utah's No. 1 ranking comes after three consecutive years at the second spot on the list.
"Our tradition of responsible fiscal management, low taxes and a strong workforce have fueled Utah's predictable and stable business-friendly environment," Gov. Gary Herbert said in a statement announcing Utah's top ranking on the Pollina list.
The annual Pollina Top 10 study was co-published with the American Economic Development Institute, a nonpartisan public policy and economics research group. The annual report analyzes a state's pro-business environment across 32 individual measures that state governments control, including taxation, human resources, economic incentive programs and state economic development efforts.
"Utah is a great example of what enlightened and motivated political leadership can accomplish with a solid plan," said Brent Pollina, vice president of Pollina and co-author of the study.
He said Utah is the first state west of the Mississippi to rank No. 1, affirming its role as a regional leader in several key areas of economic development, innovation and entrepreneurship.
At the same time, Utah has positioned itself as a leader in export growth, in part as a result of the collaboration between private sector exporting companies and the state's commitment to growing Utah's presence in the international marketplace, he said.
2012 Top 10 Pro-Business States
4. North Dakota
7. South Dakota
Source: Pollina Corporate Real Estate