Governor Greg Abbott recently announced that Texas was awarded the Gold Shovel Award by Area Development Magazine for new job growth and business investments.
The annual award recognizes states that drive job creation and investment through business-friendly policies and improvements in infrastructure that attract new employers, as well as additional investments in expanding current operations.
This is the sixth time Texas has won the Gold Shovel.
As the Governor said, the Lone Star State has flourished because we allow innovation to take root and give businesses the opportunity to succeed.
Texas wrapped up the 1st quarter of 2018 with the fastest-growing economy in the U.S., boosted by a strong resurgence in the oil and gas space.
While the oil and gas industry rebounds, wind energy and other sources of clean and renewable energy are increasing. Texas has more capacity to generate electricity from wind than any other state and leads in capacity under development. Wind now provides almost 15% of the state’s total power needs on average, with a much higher proportion at some points in time.
That kind of economic diversity is critical for Texas’ future.
Another example. Texas has become a global life science and biotechnology powerhouse, employing more than 90,000 Texans in related fields and spawning leading health care institutions like the Dell Medical School right here at UT-Austin. The industry has seen about 10% annual employment growth since 2014.
On the subject of infrastructure, the high speed rail line connecting Dallas and Houston remains on track. Incredibly, it would be the first “bullet train” in the U.S. so it makes sense that Texas lead the way. The project will be built with private capital, not government money, and provide much-need additional mobility. When completed, you can make that 240 mile trip between our two largest metro areas in a mere 90 minutes.
Finally, uncertainly remains around the impact of tariffs on U.S. and Texas companies. Some companies are making contingency plans to move certain manufacturing to places like Mexico and Panama since they have components on the US tariff list.
We’ll continue to watch closely the impact of tariffs on Texas business.
As we approach the 86th Texas legislative session starting in January of 2019, the Legislature will face the challenge of crafting a balanced budget that maintains our low tax policy, invests in roads and other infrastructure, and funds social services like our rapidly expanding Medicaid program.
An economy that continues to grow will be important to generate the necessary revenue.
I welcome your comments on our business climate and public policy priorities. Find me anywhere online at Quorum Public Affairs.