For the past couple of decades Jersey has had the reputation as the state with the most unfriendly business climate in the nation.

A new study suggests that's changing.

The report, prepared by The Tax Foundation, a non-partisan tax policy research group, shows Jersey's business tax burden on longer term businesses in the state is now the 9th worst in the nation, but many companies that have come to Jersey over the past few years are getting significant tax benefits and incentives- and are in better shape than similar firms in New York and Pennsylvania.

Rutgers economist James Hughes says the results of this study indicate "substantial efforts in Trenton to improve the business climate - certainly that's the priority for the Governor, but the Legislature has also been instrumental - after we had the dark economic years, during the mid 2000's there' a realization that New Jersey had to do something - that we were not competitive."

He says "the entire mindset in the state capital has changed dramatically and I think the need for jobs, the need to improve the business climate has moved to the fore…if we're looking at future job growth, the most important thing is whether companies that are here are going to reinvest here, are going to expand here, or are they going to expand in other states…an improving business climate improves the odds that they will expand in New Jersey rather than elsewhere."

He adds this new study indicates "that progress is being made, that attitudes have changed, that economic development is job one…New Jersey was certainly in the economic doldrums - we had a horrible business climate - but the world is changing very rapidly…Trenton, the administration, the Legislature have all been trying to improve the business climate - efforts have been successful- I think the state is essentially moving forward."