There’s been a lot of political whining about whether or not Colorado is truly business friendly. All the bellyaching has clearly influenced the state’s top three candidates for governor. Republican Dan Maes, American Constitution Party candidate Tom Tancredo, and Democrat John Hickenlooper all told business leaders on Thursday that, if elected, they will work to reinstate a variety of tax exemptions that were eliminated by Governor Bill Ritter earlier this year, notes The Associated Press. Ritter, a Democrat, eliminated the exemptions—effectively raising taxes on transactions such as online sales—in order to help balance the state’s lagging budget.

But despite complaints that Ritter’s action hurt business, he can leave office bragging that, once again, Colorado ranks number four on Forbes’ annual list of the best states for business, which takes into account factors such as business costs, quality of life, and, yes, regulations.

Ritter crows over the ranking in a press release: “Even in this tough economy, Colorado has remained aggressive, disciplined, and focused when it comes to supporting businesses and encouraging economic growth. Today’s ranking by Forbes shows that our strategies and investments in emerging and innovative industries like clean energy, health care, aerospace, biosciences, and technology are working. We still have many challenges ahead, but we are indeed moving forward” (via the Denver Business Journal).

Utah comes in at number one in the rankings, while Maine struggles at number 50.