there's the issue of taxes. If you're fond of them, you might want to
look elsewhere. Texas is the place for companies and people preferring
to pay lower taxes.
Start with the personal income tax. There's
really not much to say, because Texas doesn't have one. And there won't
be one unless the people of Texas vote to create one - the state
constitution does not allow the legislature to take such an action.
for business taxes, lots of "no" also. No state tax on equipment or
machinery that is used in manufacture of goods. No state tax on
electricity when it's used in manufacturing, processing, or
fabricating. No state tax on property that is used for pollution
control, nor on goods while they're in transit. Add it all up and the
state tax burden is 32 percent lower than the national average.
Honing the Work Force
work force in Texas is, like everything else there, growing in a big
way. Some 2.2 million people have joined the work force in the past
decade, building Texas up to the nation's second-largest work force
with 10.8 million workers.
But sheer numbers aren't really the
most important measure - it's quality that businesses are seeking. The
state has been working hard to deliver in that regard as well. It
begins with education. Texas has increased spending on public education
and higher education by $9 billion in less than a decade.
is continually looking for ways to improve its system of public
education, and among other things has created a testing system regarded
as one of the best in the country. By 2002, 85 percent of students
between the third and eighth grades had passed all components in their
end-of-year assessment, an amazing statistic when one considers that
the percentage was just 56 back in 1994.
Compare Texas students
to their peers elsewhere and the results are equally impressive. The
state's fourth-graders, for example, typically score among the top 10
states nationally in assessments of reading and math, and more than 350
public schools have been honored with the U.S. Department of
Education's Blue Ribbon School award.
Meanwhile, more than a
million Texans are now enrolled in institutions of higher learning. The
state has 35 public universities, 37 private colleges and 50 public
community college districts. Four technical college campuses can be
found in Texas, too, as well as eight medical schools and health
science centers. Together, these institutions have helped create the
nation's third-largest pool of graduate scientists and the
second-largest collection of graduate engineers.
latest ideas for improving education is the state's Commission for a
College Ready Texas. The group, to which the governor recently
appointed 21 members, will provide guidance to the State Board of
Education as it strives to improve college-readiness programs by
aligning high-school curriculum with college standards. Says the
governor, "Every student deserves to receive the necessary groundwork
to be academically equipped for college."
Demerson in the governor's office is certain that businesses won't be disappointed: "Our goal is to create jobs in this state."
believes the state compares favorably with competitors and invites
businesses to see if he's right. "When you get a taste of Texas and
compare it to another state, that's what we want," he says. And he's
well aware of how confident he sounds. "As the governor says, `It ain't
bragging if it's true!'"