Unfortunately, the depth of Michigan's problems is now apparent to the very people whom the MEDC's programs are supposed to impress. CEO Magazine annually surveys the chief executive officers in its database about U.S. states. The magazine described the survey in this way:
"Chief Executive's fifth annual survey asked 543 CEOs to evaluate their states on a broad range of issues, including proximity to resources, regulation, tax policies, education, quality of living and infrastructure. Providing additional insight to the evaluations, CEOs were also asked to grade each state based on the following criteria: 1) Taxation & Regulation, 2) Workforce Quality, and 3) Living Environment."
The magazine then uses these answers to produce rankings of the best and worst states in which to do business. For the last four years, Michigan has ranked as one of the five worst states.
Graphic 14: CEO Magazine "Best and Worst States to Do Business" Survey 2009: Worst 5 States
Source: CEO Magazine, 2009. The District of Columbia is included in the rankings.
In CEO Magazine's story about the 2008 survey, the writer reported:
"Expressing the prevalent attitude among CEOs, one CEO said, 'Michigan and California literally need to do a 180 if they are ever to become competitive again. California has huge advantages with its size, quality of work force, particularly in high tech, as well as the quality of life and climate advantages of the state. However, it is an absolute regulatory and tax disaster, as is Michigan.' "
We have obtained unpublished comments from the survey.[*] They may be as troubling as the official statistics. Among them were:
- "Michigan is doomed."
- "Michigan is a regulatory and tax disaster due to the unions and high taxes."
- "The state (Michigan) makes things worse. They are clueless."
- "The leaders in Michigan have no political courage."
[*] Donald Blair, Mackinac Center Adjunct Scholar, telephone conversation with Jim Floody, CEO Magazine, July 13, 2009.
 "CEOs Select Best, Worst States for Job Growth and Business," Chief Executive, March 25, 2009.