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Tennessee
Tennessee
Taxes: No personal income tax on wages and salaries, but taxes on dividends and interest, plus corporate excise tax on net earnings
Best Places to Live and Launch: Nashville (No. 79)

Tennessee has a robust manufacturing sector, producing automobiles, chemicals, machinery, and rubber and plastics. To facilitate growth, the state offers various sales tax exemptions and tax credits to new businesses, plus job training programs to develop a skilled workforce. The state also has the lowest utility costs in the nation, but one of the highest sales taxes.

In addition to being the nation's country music capital, Nashville is home to many major corporations such as Nissan North America and Bridgestone, which have headquarters and manufacturing plants in the city. The NFL's Tennessee Titans make their home in Nashville, as does the Grand Ole Opry. While Nashville and Tennessee's other big city, Memphis, offer metropolitan conveniences such as nearby airports, performing arts venues and nightlife, their cost of living is much lower than those of similar major cities around the country.

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Last updated March 27 2008: 10:09 AM ET