Education, Job Creation and Fiscal Responsibility Keys to Continued Success in Texas
HOUSTON – Gov. Rick Perry today stressed the relationship between an educated workforce and our state’s continued economic success at Nicholas Earth Printing, a commercial printing company and Texas small business that has helped keep our state’s economy moving.
In his remarks, Gov. Perry called on the Texas Education Agency and the Department of Public Safety to work with local school districts to further leverage the privilege of a driver’s license as an incentive to keep students engaged in the education process.
“I believe that in order for high school-aged individuals to get and keep a driver's license they should be enrolled in school, be it bricks and mortar or our virtual high school, and, most importantly, working toward their diploma or GED,” said Gov. Perry. “This approach will not only give local school districts another tool in their efforts to reduce dropouts. It will also give students an incentive to do the work that will prepare them to compete in the workforce. ”
Gov. Perry also highlighted a recent report from the Texas Workforce Commission that said Texas has created more private sector jobs than any other state in the nation over the last 10 years and has the lowest unemployment rate among the 10 largest states in the nation.
“These remarkable numbers indicate an economy with a strong core and a state government committed to strong fiscal discipline that is willing to stick to the basics,” said Gov. Perry.
Gov. Perry stressed the need to maintain a focus on job creation efforts and uphold principles of fiscal responsibility as the keys to continuing Texas’ success.
“Entrepreneurs know that they can succeed in Texas on their own merits, without being taxed, regulated and frivolously sued out of existence,” said Gov. Perry. “They also know that our workforce is getting stronger by the day because we have improved the quality of public education by emphasizing accountability, teacher incentive pay and mastery of the basic subjects. ”
To ensure Texas continues providing a strong education to meet the challenges of an increasingly competitive workplace, Gov. Perry most recently announced a proposed expansion of the state’s Virtual School Network. The expansion will improve access to high quality, online courses for high school students, especially those in rural schools and those educated at home. The proposal will also provide resources to recapture students who have dropped out of school.
“By expanding and leveraging the Texas Virtual Schools Network we can keep more young Texans engaged in their education and make that future workforce even stronger,” said Gov. Perry. “As we work to raise the quality of a Texas education even higher, we are also working to lock in some wise limits on spending to keep Texas strong in the days to come. ”
Gov. Perry also focused on fiscal responsibility by reiterating the need for Texas to amend its constitution with two key provisions: requiring a two-thirds vote of the Legislature to approve tax increases and limiting spending growth to the combined growth rates of Texas’ population and inflation. Both amendments will ensure the continued fiscal discipline that allowed Texas to balance its budget in 2009 while setting aside billions for its Rainy Day fund and cutting taxes for more than 40,000 small businesses.
The governor pledged to keep working until every Texan who wants a job has a job and noted that Texas’ adherence to low taxes, fair laws and predictable regulations will lead the state to continued economic success. Texas economist Ray Perryman recently noted that Texas is the “last in and first out” when it comes to the current economic downturn, pointing to the job growth that Texas has experienced in three of the past six months and the fact that the state’s unemployment rate has remained two points below the national average.
“The story of hardworking innovators coming together to attract the best and brightest is played out again and again all across Texas as people take advantage of the job-friendly climate we’ve created and risk their capital in pursuit of a vision,” said Gov. Perry. “The fact is, even though no one is immune to the effects of the economic downturn, Texas is better off than just about every other state, thanks to years of disciplined conservative leadership at every level. ”
Other education initiatives proposed by Gov. Perry include doubling the number of Texas Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (T-STEM) academies in an effort to educate more Texas students in the subjects required of an increasingly high tech economy and workplace, and expanding the UTeach Program to five more higher education institutions in an effort to recruit university students earning math and science degrees into teaching.