The bigger they are, the harder they fall.

And in each of America’s Top States for Business, they’re well aware of that. Getting to the top is one thing. Staying on top is another, in the most brutal competitive landscape in a generation.

We didn’t make it any easier when we decided for the first time to consider the states’ fiscal conditions in this year’s Top States study. But it is a factor we couldn’t ignore any longer. That’s because being competitive doesn’t come cheap, and state coffers are in their worst shape in decades.