California Ranks Last in ‘Business Friendliness,’ #1 in Electricity Cost – and Another Company Flees the State

Smithfield Foods, Inc. is joining the ever-going ranks of businesses fleeing California due to the exorbitant cost of business – and, especially, of energy – in the Golden State.

On Friday, Smithfield announced that it will cease all harvest and processing operations in its Vernon, California plant in early 2023 and begin planning to close all of its farms in the state.

“Smithfield is taking these steps due to the escalating cost of doing business in California,” the company said in a press release.

Fully 272 corporate headquarters left California between January 1, 2018 and June 30, 2021, a Hoover Institute study finds, with the rate of exit doubling in the first six months of 2021 from its full-year 2020 rate.

While California ranks as one of the worst states in terms of overall business cost, “business friendliness,” and business tax climate – the high cost of utilities is a major factor fueling the exodus, as California businesses have the highest average cost of electricity:



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