Fortune Small Business scoured the country for the 100 Best Towns To Live and Launch a Business for 2008, as published in April. They looked for towns that combine a great business environment with alluring leisure offerings. They looked at economic conditions such as local taxes rates alongside natural beauty and easy access to museums, and more.

Of the 100 Best Places to Live and Launch, the four major cities in Texas were represented: Georgetown, a suburb of Austin (No. 2), Dallas / Fort Worth (No. 9), San Antonio (No. 34), Stafford, a suburb of Houston (No. 36)


Fortune further spells out some of the benefits of the cities chosen.

7 tax-free havens

Texas was selected as one of the best tax-free havens with business-friendly policies that can save a proprietor big bucks:

Texas

No personal income tax, low business gross receipts tax. Although petroleum refining is one of Texas' primary industries, the state's economy relies on a wide variety of fields, including manufacturing, agriculture and aerospace. Exxon and Citgo are headquartered in Texas, as are Dell, Texas Instruments, Raytheon and Mary Kay. Manufacturers produce clothing, chemical products, food, automobiles, computers and more.

Recently, the governor's office identified six industries in which Texas wants to promote future growth: advanced technologies and manufacturing, aerospace and defense, biotech and life sciences, IT and computers, oil refining and chemical products, and energy, including new energy sources such as wind. The government is cultivating these sectors by connecting businesses with federal and private grants, providing state funds for research, and increasing job training programs. Georgetown benefits from its proximity to Austin, and it boasts a high quality of life, with low crime and plenty of parks, lakes and golf courses. Fort Worth and San Antonio offer big-city environments and jobs in manufacturing, financial services and biotech. Houston suburb Stafford offers a wealth of high-tech opportunities; in addition, the town has no property tax.

5 modern manufacturing hubs

While domestic manufacturing has declined, Houston still draws plants thanks to competitive infrastructure costs, a favorable geographic location, and a strong labor market.

Stafford, Texas (a suburb of Houston)

For manufacturers looking to relocate or start up near Houston, Stafford offers no property tax and low sales taxes compared to neighboring communities. Current residents include Texas Instruments, whose Stafford plant builds semiconductors and microelectronics, and Ion Geophysical, a maker of seismic data equipment. But there's plenty of room for more, according to Jeff Wiley, president of the Fort Bend County Economic Development Corporation. Stafford offers miles and miles of undeveloped land - perfect for building your next warehouse.