It wasn't your usual legislative hearing. A group of largely Republican California lawmakers and Democratic Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom traveled here last week to hear from businesses that have left their state to set up shop in Texas.
"We came to learn why they would pick up their roots and move in order to grow their businesses," says GOP Assemblyman Dan Logue, who organized the trip. "Why does Chief Executive magazine rate California the worst state for job and business growth and Texas the best state?"
The contrast is undeniable. Texas has added 165,000 jobs during the last three years while California has lost 1.2 million. California's jobless rate is 12% compared to 8% in Texas.
Well, not really. While the job market is still pretty weak overall, the truth is that conditions vary greatly from state to state. For example, in February of 2011, the unemployment rate was 13.6 percent in Nevada, but only 3.7 percent in North Dakota. On top of that, MoneyRates.com found significant differences in a number of other job-related factors as well, and an analysis of these factors cumulated in a list of the best states for making a living.
Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas economists said Thursday that Texas could add 261,000 to 374,000 jobs this year, growing between 2.5 and 3.5 percent, based on movements in leading indicators. At that pace -- Texas jobs are already growing about 2.5 percent annually -- the state's unemployment rate could drop to 7 percent by year's end, economists Keith Phillips and Emily Kerr said in the bank's latest edition of Southwest Economy.
Separately, the Texas Workforce Commission said the state added 44,100 jobs in January from a month earlier, moving to just under 10.5 million. The growth was led by trade, transportation and utilities.
Austin Business Journal - by Christine Hall, Houston Business Journal
Texas topped a list of U.S. states with the most new and expanded corporate facilities, receiving the 2010 Site Selection Governor’s Cup in the process.
With 424 new or expanded corporate projects, the Lone Star State had a 50-project increase over its second-place finish in last year’s contest and dethroned Ohio, which had won the previous four Governor’s Cups. Ohio had 376 projects in 2010.
Creative industries — from advertising to dance companies to book publishing — generate $4.5 billion per year in economic activity for Texas. To highlight that fact, the trust, in association with the Texas Commission on the Arts, is releasing a new report this week, prepared by TXP Inc., an Austin-based consulting firm, and paid for with federal stimulus dollars.
We won't stand by while Mexican border violence kills
Embroiled in an ongoing clash between rival drug cartels, the region of Mexico directly across the border from Texas has become one of the most dangerous places in the world, with more than 28,000 people killed since 2006, a death toll more reflective of a war zone than a nation ostensibly at peace.
Wishful thinking won't keep such an overwhelming explosion of violence from creeping farther north, so we must consider all our options as we determine the best way to protect our communities.
It all begins with a strong border, and a border is only as strong as the forces protecting it.