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Texas Today: Strong Business Environment and Innovation Spurs Job Creation

What recession? Texas can boast cheerful headlines and the creation of thousands of new jobs.

April 2012
Positive news headlines have been in rather short supply in many U.S. places, but not so in Texas. Recently, Apple Inc., Boeing, GE Transportation and Continental Automotive Systems have all announced major job-creating projects within the State.
Positive news headlines have been in rather short supply in many U.S. places, but not so in Texas. Recently, Apple Inc., Boeing, GE Transportation and Continental Automotive Systems have all announced major job-creating projects within the State.
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Why Texas?
Many a state would be green with envy at the diversity of businesses that share hopeful futures in Texas. So what makes the outlook so positive? It certainly helps having massive volumes of energy beneath the soil and in the air, waiting to be tapped. And while the presence of such resources could be seen largely as a matter of divine intervention or good fortune that has little to do with human efforts, the truth is that shale gas in Texas and elsewhere might still be seen as untouchable if not for the innovations of George P. Mitchell - a Texan.

Beyond the state's penchant for innovation, Brandon cites an environment that welcomes business activity with open arms. "Texas has an independent and conservative business tradition, and is committed to promoting business opportunities," he says. That's not a political statement, either, as pro-business attitudes can be found on both sides of the aisle in Texas.

Among the welcoming attributes, the state has been working on its legal system in an effort to ensure it's fair to all, including businesses. For example, 2011 reforms include several geared toward discouraging frivolous lawsuits.

Then there's the fact that things in Texas tend to be Texas-sized - "the sheer number and wealth of options are extremely appealing," Brandon says. "There's a broad variety of work force choices, from unskilled hourly labor to extremely skilled technology and corporate professionals," he explains.

Gigerich rattles off a similar list of positive attributes that help drive Texas growth: "great tax structure; bilingual work force; large population; different markets that can offer different types of settings for companies (urban, suburban, and rural); affordable labor costs; outstanding road, air, and rail infrastructure; and good quality of life."

Just to expand a bit on one of these key points - there's no corporate income tax in Texas, and no individual income tax, either. At the state level, there's no property tax. If you're thinking the sales tax must therefore be through the roof, think again. Some states have lower sales tax rates than Texas, but the rate is a fair amount more in other states.

As for the work force, it's about 12 million strong, marked by a variety of industry-specific concentrations in different regions. That makes it easier to find the right workers. And, as anyone in human resources knows, finding properly skilled labor is not always easy, even with the higher unemployment rates that the recent recession brought.

Texas is a prime address for conducting international business, with exports that continue to grow explosively. Consider that they were $163 billion in 2009, $207 billion in 2010, and $250 billion in 2011. Exports grew by 20.7 percent last year, and the state's share of America's export picture hit 16.9 percent, up two whole percentage points since 2008. For the 10th consecutive year, Texas has been the nation's top exporting state, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce. The top export industries last year were petroleum and coal products, chemicals, computer and electronic products, non-electrical machinery, and transportation equipment.

What makes it a great place for connecting globally? For one thing, its dozen deepwater ports include the port of Houston, second-busiest in the country and 13th-busiest in the world. More evidence of global-business friendliness includes the recent ranking of the Alliance Foreign-Trade Zone as the nation's top general-purpose foreign-trade zone. The most recent figures available cover fiscal 2010, when the FTZ admitted more than $4 billion in foreign products, more than any other general-purpose FTZ (it's the fourth time in the past five years that Alliance has grabbed that ranking).

One more thing worth mentioning: Though the state is marked by an independent streak that strives to keep government out of the way of business success, the public sector remains there to help when needed. The list of incentive programs and financial assistance for expanding businesses is long and generous.

For example, there's the Texas Enterprise Fund, a "deal closing" fund that is the largest of its kind in America. For projects that promise significant job creation and capital investment, the fund is able to step in and sweeten the pot to ensure that Texas is super-competitive with other jurisdictions.

Then there's the Texas Emerging Technology Fund, which helps those doing business in Texas to recruit top research talent, then migrate innovative ideas from the lab into the marketplace. Add in generous financing options, valuable grants, and attractive incentives and you'll see why a lot of organizations are ranking Texas among the nation's best places to do business.
Article Discussion

A Letter from Rick Perry, Governor of Texas

Rick Perry Greetings:

Texas Wide Open for Business is more than just positive thinking. It’s an environment we’ve created in the Lone Star State to foster business and entrepreneurship — to train the workforce of the future and make Texas the best place to live, work, and raise a family. I invite you to bring your company to Texas to take advantage of our fundamentally strong economy as a stepping-stone to success and prosperity.

As a global leader in economic development, Texas is committed to working with employers worldwide to ensure the ideal conditions for job creation and economic prosperity. Our infrastructure, geographic location, and business climate are optimal for business expansion and relocation.

Texas is recognized around the world for its pro-business climate. In 2013, CNBC named Texas “America’s Top State for Economy and Infrastructure,” adding to our state’s growing list of accolades. Texas has also been named the “Best State to Do Business” by Chief Executive magazine for the past nine years in a row. If Texas were a nation, it would rank as the 13th-largest economy in the world based on GDP, and Texas has been the nation’s top exporting state for 12 years. Texas has also created more private-sector jobs than any other state in the nation over the last 10 years.

In addition to our superior quality of life and robust economic climate, the Lone Star State has one of the lowest business tax burdens in the United States.

Texas also levies no personal income tax, which allows businesses to pass on more value to their employees. We also offer a number of attractive incentives, such as the Texas Enterprise Fund and the Texas Emerging Technology Fund, which have helped bring thousands of jobs to Texas.

In short, Texas is doing what it takes to help businesses succeed and create jobs in our great state. To explore how your business could prosper in Texas, contact Jonathan Taylor, executive director of my Economic Development and Tourism division, at (512) 936-0101 or

Rick Perry signature

Rick Perry
Governor of Texas