Wyoming Works Hard to Boost Business
Wyoming State Capitol in Cheyenne, WY
The Wyoming State Capitol is located in Cheyenne, Wyoming. In 2011, Wyoming ended its fiscal year with a $437 million budget surplus.
Gov. Matt Mead espouses a fundamental formula when it comes to doing business in Wyoming.
“We try to encourage, not discourage, entrepreneurs and businesses because when they are doing well, everyone benefits,” Mead says.
That’s kind of the bottom line to having a vibrant business climate, the governor says – creating an atmosphere where businesses will want to locate, expand and succeed.
Running in the Black
Yet it helps, as well, when you lead a state that has no personal income tax, no corporate tax and no state debt. In 2011, Wyoming ended its fiscal year with a $437 million budget surplus.
Mead also cites variables such as vibrant energy and agriculture industries, along with a high livability quotient.
"We are proud to contribute so much to America’s power needs and realize this benefits our economy as well. With the energy industry, we also have strong tourism and agriculture. These three strengths – energy, tourism and ag – mean we fund schools very well, do not have an income or corporate tax and, on top of that, we have about $14 billion dollars in savings,” Mead says.
Among national accolades, Wyoming ranked fourth on the Pollina Top Pro Business state rankings for 2011 and No. 3 on the Tax Foundation's State Business Climate Index in 2010 and 2011. Additionally, The Atlantic magazine named Wyoming the Best Performing State Economy for 2010 and the 24/7 Wall St. website ranked it Best Run State in America in 2010.
The Pollina rankings, for instance, measure job retention and creation among states based on 32 factors controlled by state government, such as taxes, human resources, education, energy costs and infrastructure spending, offering a gauge of strength in economic development. Wyoming has ranked in the Pollina Top 10 since the study was established in 2004.
Access to Levers of Government
"I also believe that Wyoming has an inherent advantage on account of our small population. Individuals can access their government and meet with me and my staff, as well as the congressional delegation. In addition, our size allows us to be nimble – we have the ability to change course quickly if we realize that state government needs to go in a new direction,” Mead says.
Robert Jensen, CEO of the Wyoming Business Council, credits an attitude among state and local leadership for creating conditions for a positive business climate.
"They understand business and they understand what business means to a state. They do things that are business friendly. That doesn’t mean we skirt the rules or are easy on our regulation. At the same time, we do know that business is what drives everything. So there’s a good understanding of business, a good respect for it and an enthusiasm for trying to help businesses of all kinds in the state,” Jensen says.
Cooperation on Business Front
Cooperation among local economic development organizations on business building also plays a significant role in Wyoming, Jensen says. Ultimately, that helps businesses to lower costs and efficiencies and productivity, he says.
"We have a good team involved with trying to make busy easy to do in Wyoming and helping to make businesses successful,” Jensen says.
Wyoming Demographic/Economic Information
Population: 563,626, up 14.1% from 2000 (2010 Census)
Median Household Income: $52,664, 20th in the nation
Educational Attainment: 91.8 percent of state’s adults completed high school (highest in nation)
Unemployment Rate: 5.8% (September 2011)
Gross Domestic Product: $37.54 billion, 2009
Source: Economic Analysis Division – Wyoming State Government