Governor Perry delivered his State of the State address this week, proposing to consolidate or suspend non-critical state agencies in order to make state government more streamlined and efficient. The governor also outlined his priorities for the 82nd Legislative Session, including balancing the budget without raising taxes, preserving essential services, and strengthening Texas' position as a national economic leader through sound policies. Check out the Governor's entire State of the State address below.
Four Texas metropolitan areas — Houston, Austin, Dallas and San Antonio — dominate the top 15 U.S. cities in a global study to determine the level of cities' recovery from the recession.
The Brookings Institution Metropolitan Policy Program report ranks 150 cities: 50 in the United States, 50 in Europe and 50 in the rest of the world. Austin was the highest-ranked U.S. city and No. 26 in the world. Dallas ranks as the No. 4 U.S. city and No. 39 in the world. San Antonio ranks No. 11 in the U.S. and No. 51 in the world.
Houston is ranked No. 15 in the U.S. and No. 61 in the world, according to the report, Global MetroMonitor, which received assistance from the London School of Economics and Political Science.
San Antonio, Houston and Dallas rose in global rankings during the past two years from their pre-recession rankings. Austin stayed about the same, ranking No. 25 among the 150 metro areas before the recession.
The report found that income and job growth in metro areas exceed those of their nations as a whole, which means large cities are leading the global recovery from the 2007-09 recession.
Where can you go to escape the recession? Try any of these 10 places. Oh, and be prepared to wear red.
Like a massive tornado, the Great Recession up-ended the topography of America. But even as vast parts of the country were laid low, some cities withstood the storm and could emerge even stronger and shinier than before. So, where exactly are these Oz-like destinations along the road to recovery? If you said Kansas, you're not far off. Try Oklahoma. Or Texas. Or Iowa. Not only did the economic twister of the last two years largely spare Tornado Alley, it actually may have helped improve the landscape.
NEWSWEEK has compiled a list of the 10 American cities best situated for the recovery. These are places where the jobs are plentiful, and the pay, given the lower cost of living, buys more than in bigger cities. In other words, places unlike much of the rest of the country. The cities, most of which lie in the red-state territory of America’s heartland, fall into three basic groups. There's the Texaplex—Austin, Dallas, San Antonio, and Houston—which has become the No. 1 destination for job-seeking Americans, thanks to a hearty energy sector and a strong spirit of entrepreneurism. There are the New Silicon Valleys—Raleigh-Durham, N.C.; Salt Lake City; and urban northern Virginia—which offer high-paying high-tech jobs and housing prices well below those in coastal California. And then there are the Heartland Honeys—Oklahoma City, Indianapolis, and Des Moines, Iowa—which are enjoying a revival thanks to rising agricultural prices and a shift toward high-end industrial jobs.
Texas created more than half the jobs in the nation over the last year, according to a report released Thursday.
In the monthly review of the Texas economy for October, Ali Anari and Mark Dotzour of the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University reported that the state added 166,000 jobs during the year ending in September for an annual growth rate of 1.6 percent.
During the same period, the U.S. economy gained 321,000 jobs, an annual growth rate of 0.2 percent.
The private sector is driving job creation in Texas, Anari said in a statement.
The September state unemployment numbers came out last Friday, and we couldn't help noticing that three of the four states with the highest job losses were California (-63,500), New York (-37,600) and New Jersey (-20,200). The other was Massachusetts (-20,900). Texas, meanwhile, gained 4,000 jobs.
This continues a longer term trend.Over the last year, as the economy was beginning to grow again, the Lone Star State has led the nation with the addition of nearly 153,000 jobs, while California surrendered 43,700, New Jersey lost 42,300 and New York dropped 14,600. This superior jobs recovery builds on the fact that Texas also weathered the national recession better than most states. According to a new Texas Public Policy Foundation study, Texas experienced a decline of 2.3% from its peak employment, while California fell nearly four times further, with 8.7% of jobs vanishing.
These hiring statistics confirm that for business Texas is the new California—as the likes of Austin, Dallas and San Antonio have become destinations for investment and entrepreneurship. Texas has become a mecca for high tech, venture capital, aeronautics, health care and even industrial manufacturing like the building of cars and trucks.
Meanwhile, the Golden State, New York and New Jersey have been slouching toward slow-growth European status. New Jersey is at least working to get its spending and taxes under control with Chris Christie as Governor, though its state and local tax burden remains the nation's highest and its business tax climate is the worst, according to the Tax Foundation.
The migration of factories, capital and jobs to states like Texas is no accident. Texas is a right to work state, meaning that workers cannot be compelled to join a union. Texas also has no income tax, which gives its firms a roughly 10% cost advantage over a "progressive" state like California.
There is also a lesson here for Washington. The job-free zones of California, New Jersey and New York each tax the rich more than nearly all other states. In these states the top 1% wealthiest taxpayers bear roughly 40% of the state income tax burden, but their budgets are still a mess and the job losses continue. If the next crop of Governors and the 112th Congress want faster growth and more job creation, they'll avoid the mistakes of California and New York and learn from Texas.
Just days before Washington state voters decide whether to impose a first-ever state tax on six-figure incomes, Texas Gov. Rick Perry has jumped into the middle of the fray.
With a week to go before the Washington ballot initiative, Perry, a Republican, has taken an unusually aggressive swipe at Gov. Chris Gregoire, a Democrat. Perry sent letters Friday to 90 leading businesses in Washington – including Amazon, Microsoft and Starbucks – inviting them to relocate to Texas, which also has no income tax.
"If Washington doesn't want your business, Texas does,” said Perry. “Texas has no personal income tax and no interest in getting one."
Most Washington business leaders are lined up against the proposal, which would impose a 5 percent tax on individuals earning $200,000 or more a year and a 9% tax on those making more than $500,000.
Microsoft founder Bill Gates, the state’s most prominent billionaire, has divided loyalties: his company is fighting the tax proposal on behalf of its many highly-paid workers, but the ballot initiative was sponsored by Gates father, a retired lawyer who argues that Washington needs the money to fund education. The software mogul himself has not taken a position on the tax, which stands to cost him tens of millions of dollars a year.
The latest poll says the anticipated vote on the income tax initiative is too close to call.
A Perry spokesman denied that the governor was meddling to defeat the Washington initiative, but conceded that the timing – a week before the vote – was no coincidence.
“It seemed like the right time to do it, as businesses are focused on the election and on the possibility of paying higher taxes,” said Ray Sullivan.
Washington and Texas are among seven states that impose no income tax, contributing to the fact that both are highly rated as places to conduct business.
It is common for governors to recruit individual companies to relocate but unusual to make a blanket indictment of the business climate in another state. It is also unusual for governors to try to influence the outcome of ballot initiatives in another state.
Gregoire, who supports the tax proposal, shrugged off Perry’s missives.
“We're serious about keeping businesses here and attracting new ones to the state,” she said in a written statement issue by her office. “We've consistently ranked in the top five in the Forbes list of best states to do business—ahead of Texas."
Gregoire spokesman Cory Curtis said the governor was not offended by Perry’s letters, but would not comment on whether the governor thought that Perry was trying to influence the vote. Asked what kind of relationship the conservative Perry and the liberal Gregoire have, Curtis said, “I don’t think they have any relationship.”
In Forbes’ latest rankings, Washington placed fifth among states with a positive business climate, while Texas ranked seventh. Washington ranked 28th for the lowest business costs, and Texas was slightly better – 26th. Surprisingly, Washington bested Texas for imposing a lighter regulatory burden on business, ranking 5th while Texas ranked 17th.
“We think that Washington will continue to be a better place [than Texas] to do business, whether or not the income tax initiative passes,” said Curtis.
Perry’s spokesman said that Texas was the top-ranked state by business cable network CNBC and CEO magazine, and in most rankings, rated higher than Washington.
Gregoire, like most Washington state politicians, has opposed the imposition of a state income tax, and never pushed it as governor. She has endorsed the ballot initiative, but vowed to veto any effort by the legislature to extend the tax to other taxpayers.
Join over 100 groups in supporting Gov. Perry for re-election
HOUSTON – Today Gov. Rick Perry received the endorsement of former President George H.W. Bush and former First Lady Barbara Bush for the general election. They were joined by representatives from more than 100 organizations and hundreds of leaders who have endorsed Gov. Perry’s re-election, highlighting his diverse, statewide support, which represents millions of Texans.
“Gov. Perry’s leadership and proven track record is an essential component in keeping Texas a national leader in job creation,” said former President George H.W. Bush. “Texas has become a prime example of what happens when you mix fiscal responsibility, strong leadership and a vision of moving a state forward. It is an honor to endorse Gov. Rick Perry for the general election.”
George H.W. Bush was sworn in as president of the United States in January 1989 and served until January 1993. During his term in office, the Cold War ended; the threat of nuclear war was drastically reduced; the Soviet Union ceased to exist, replaced by a democratic Russia with the Baltic States becoming free; the Berlin Wall fell and Germany was reunified with Eastern Europe; and he put together an unprecedented international coalition to liberate Kuwait.
Former First Lady Barbara Bush is a tireless advocate of volunteerism, helping countless charities and humanitarian causes. Today she and President Bush serve as Co-Chairs of C-Change, an organization that represents more than 150 individuals and groups that fight cancer. She also enjoys reading to children at schools and hospitals across the nation.
“I am deeply honored to receive the endorsement of former President George H. W. Bush and former First Lady Barbara Bush,” said Gov. Perry. “His devotion and leadership, to our country, has brought forth inspiration to us all.”
Gov. Perry’s endorsements highlight the broad-based support he has from diverse groups and industries, ranging from agriculture, health care and retail sales, to construction, law enforcement and education.
In his remarks, Gov. Perry emphasized the creation of 850,000 Texas jobs in the last ten years and the recent drop in the unemployment rate in Texas; leaving the national rate nearly two points above ours. He also touted our state’s low taxes, predictable regulatory climate, fair legal system and education efforts as crucial elements that have helped make it a national leader in exports and Fortune 1000 companies.
MARSHALL, TEXAS—Even in this small, quaint East Texas town, 20 miles from the Louisiana border, everything seems larger than life.
From the endless rolling hills to the massive German shepherds that gave chase during my ill-advised runs in the countryside to the heaping portions of barbeque at the Country Tavern in nearby Kilgore (where I, keeping kosher, settled for a huge green salad), stuff in Texas just seems bigger.
Politics, too, looms larger and more potent here than elsewhere. A former judge and the first Republican to represent this district since Reconstruction, Rep. Louie Gohmert is the kind of conservative that makes Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin seem squishy.
Among his more notable achievements, he voted against both TARP and the stimulus; he supported a two-month tax income tax holiday for all Americans; he co-sponsored legislation that would compel all presidential candidates to make available certified copies of their birth-certificates; he went on national television to decry the scourge of “terror babies,” or the Islamist equivalent of anchor babies born to foreigners in the U.S.; and he accused the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention of seeking the power “to force you to eat more fruits and vegetables.”
It’s not just the politicians who embody supercharged conservative values, but the grassroots activists too. Earlier this year, a billboard in Marshall made national waves, asking passersby, simply: “Voted Obama? Embarrassed Yet?”
Another billboard just outside my hotel was all black with the following message scrawled in bright yellow writing: “Had Enough of: Stimulus…Bailouts…Homosexual Marriage? Then Vote Republican.” There didn’t seem to be anyone in particular who approved that message.
But what’s really big in Texas nowadays is economic recovery, especially compared to California. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that more than half of the net new jobs created in the United States over the past 12 months originated here in Texas: 119,000 out of 214,000. Amazingly, during those same twelve months, California shed 112,000 net jobs—almost the same number that Texas created.
While Californians have been afflicted by a 12.4% unemployment rate—nearly three points above the national average—Texans enjoy an 8.1% rate, a point and a half below the U.S. as a whole.
So how has the Lone Star State done it? Simple: lower taxes, less spending, and a friendly business climate.
Unlike California and many states in the union, Texas has no state income tax. So while states like Washington, which also has no such tax, are entertaining ballot measures that would actually add a state income tax in the middle of a recession, Texas has remained blissfully free of such a levy. And while Texas imposes an oil severance tax, which we in California still (thankfully) don’t have, the burden it imposes pales in comparison to our cumulative tax load.
Furthermore, the state government in Austin spends much less than comparably-sized states. According to the Texas Public Policy Foundation, the state’s budget in 2008 amounted to 17.3% of GDP, five points less than the nation as a whole and eight points less than the Golden State. Spending per capita in California is 33% greater than in Texas. Indeed, it’s difficult for the legislature to spend much when it meets only every other year.
But most impressively, the state goes out of its way to recruit businesses to its precincts. Governor Rick Perry famously takes “hunting trips” in California for businesses sick and tired of our deadly combination of high taxes and absurd regulation. Even Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s husband recently moved workers from the Orange County office of his CB Richard Ellis real estate company to Dallas.
According to the Claremont Institute’s William Voegeli, between 2000 and 2007, California lost 1.1 million people while Texas absorbed 500,000 new arrivals. And whereas California for the first time in more than 100 years will likely not receive a new congressional seat after the 2010 decennial redistricting, Texas is set to gain as many as four new congressmen.
So sure enough, Texas isn’t just big, it’s getting bigger, and at the expense of states like our own. Until we turn things around quickly in California by learning from the Lone Star state, Texas will keep eating our lunch.
AUSTIN – Gov. Rick Perry today received the endorsement of the Texas Construction Association Political Action Committee (TCA PAC) for the general election.
“Gov. Perry’s fiscally conservative track record of supporting efforts to improve the business environment in Texas and create new jobs has helped our industry flourish,” said Steve Rians, Chairman of the Board of the Texas Construction Association. “We are proud to have the opportunity to endorse Gov. Perry in the general election.”
The Texas Construction Association was established in 1998 by Texas construction subcontractor and supplier organizations to promote the common interests of these organizations in Texas. TCA is comprised of 15 member associations. Through these associations and direct memberships, TCA has over 2,300 company members which collectively employ over 175,000 employees.
“I am honored to receive the endorsement of the Texas Construction Association PAC,” said Gov. Perry. “The members of this association help build Texas schools, office buildings and factories, and I will continue to support their efforts so that our great state can continue to lead the nation.”
It is often pointed out that the states make great laboratories for political-science experiments. And an experiment has been underway for quite a while testing the liberal model — high taxes, extensive regulation, many government-provided social services, union-friendly laws — against the conservative model — low taxes, limited regulation and social services, right-to-work laws. The results are increasingly in. As Rich Lowry reports in National Review Online, the differences between California and Texas are striking. Between August 2009 and August 2010, the nation created a net of 214,000 jobs. Texas created more than half of them, 119,000. California lost 112,000 jobs in that period. Lowry writes:
Texas is a model of governmental restraint. In 2008, state and local expenditures were 25.5 percent of GDP in California, 22.8 in the U.S., and 17.3 in Texas. Back in 1987, levels of spending were roughly similar in these places. The recessions of 1991 and 2001 spiked spending everywhere, but each time Texas fought to bring it down to pre-recession levels. “Because of this policy decision,” the Texas Public Policy Foundation report notes, “Texas’ 2008 spending burden remained slightly below its 1987 levels — a major accomplishment.”
The result has been dramatic: “A new Texas Public Policy Foundation report notes that Texas experienced a decline of 2.3 percent from its peak employment [in the current recession], while the nation declined 5.7 percent and California 8.7 percent.” And people have been voting with their feet: A thousand people a day are moving to Texas. It will likely gain four House seats next year, while California for the first time since it became a state in 1850 will gain none.
So, again, the evidence would seem to be overwhelming: high tax-and-spend policies and regulation produces stagnation and unemployment, low tax-and-spend policies and regulatory restraint produce the opposite.