Central Texas' Williamson County hits the bull's eye when it comes to offering incentives for big business. Corporate tax breaks and low property taxes have attracted the likes of top-flight companies such as Dell, which employs 13,000 at its headquarters in Round Rock.
The rapid development of nearby Austin has spurred the growth of so-called "super suburbs" like Williamson County's Round Rock and Cedar Park, where affordable housing, cultural offerings and numerous parks and trails win points with young families.
In a tough economy, the county's incentives are looking particularly enticing to companies. Health care equipment maker Thermo Fisher Scientific said in December it's planning to move some of its production from Wisconsin, bringing 150 new jobs.Subscribe to Money Magazine
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