Pennsylvania's emphasis on tech and innovation and its ability to get money to businesses propelled it into the top dozen in a CNBC report on the most business-friendly states.
The Keystone State scored well in several of the report's criteria, but is held back by its pro-union tradition and onerous regulation, according to the report, which ranked Virginia and Texas Nos. 1 and 2, respectively.
“Pennsylvania improved considerably in our overall rankings this year, primarily by cutting the cost of doing business there," said CNBC Senior Correspondent Scott Cohn. "The state’s tax structure now competes with the best of them, although utility costs remain high.”
Pennsylvania also scored well in education, infrastructure and transportation and overall economy. While many of the improvements likely reflect on groundwork laid by two-term former Gov. Ed Rendell, current chief executive Tom Corbett rode into office with a heavy emphasis on helping small business. Pennsylvania ranked No. 20 in CNBC's 2010 report.
"We are turning the corner, and we want to be ready for the opportunities ahead," Rob Wonderling, president of the Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce, and Dennis Yablonsky, his counterpart in Pittsburgh, wrote in an op-ed for the Harrisburg Patriot-Ledger earlier this year.
Rounding out the top five best states for business were: North Carolina, Georgia and Colorado. Rhode Island fared the worst in the nation, below Alaska, Hawaii, Mississippi and West Virginia.