The Commonwealth of Virginia has earned its third straight “Best State for Business” ranking.

Gov. Timothy M. Kaine says Virginia continues to lead the nation as’s “Best State for Business.” It is the third consecutive year Virginia has been top ranked. The Commonwealth finished in the top 10 in four of the six categories examined in the review, according to the governor’s office. West Virginia was ranked dead last in the study — a shocking and unacceptable placing for the Mountain State.

Virginia has long enjoyed a business-friendly climate, as evidenced by the latest findings of Kaine said the Commonwealth’s regulatory and legal environments are tough to beat, as well as the state’s strong, and educated labor force.

“This best-in-nation validation speaks volumes to our competitiveness in today’s global market,” Kaine said last week. “It’s a real honor to receive this recognition from once, but to be named the ‘Best State for Business’ three years in a row is a true accomplishment for which we should all be proud.”

Kaine, who has been in the new national spotlight in recent days as speculation continues to build over who Barack Obama will select as his vice presidential running mate, is to be commended for his efforts to promote and enhance business growth in the Commonwealth.

During Kaine’s administration, Virginia has been recognized as the most business-friendly state in America ( 2006-2008), one of the best states for business (CNBC 2007 and 2008), the top-performing state government in America (Governing Magazine 2008) and the state where “a child is most likely to have a successful life (Education Week 2007).

Utah was ranked second by, followed by Washington, North Carolina, and Georgia. Colorado, Idaho, Florida, Texas and Nebraska rounded out the top ten list, a press release from the governor’s office said.

The ranking considers states’ business costs, including the cost of labor, energy, and taxes; labor issues, including educational attainment, net migration, and projected population growth; regulatory climate; the economic climate, including job, income, and gross state product growth; as well as unemployment and growth prospects, including projected job, income, and gross state product growth, as well as announced business openings and closings; and also the quality of life, including index of schools, health, crime, cost of living, and poverty rates.

We applaud the Commonwealth for once again achieving the “Best State for Business” ranking.

While good news for Virginia, the report also represents renewed challenges for southern West Virginia, and particularly border communities such as Bluefield that are struggling to compete with the more business-friendly Commonwealth of Virginia. Having West Virginia ranked 50th, or the least business friendly state in the nation by, is simply unacceptable.

The report should be seen as a wake-up as to why we need an aggressive and can-do attitude among elected officials in southern West Virginia in promoting new business growth in our border communities such as Bluefield.

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