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Inward Investment Guides
Location Texas: Wide Open For Business
Steve Stackhouse-Kaelble (Jun/Jul 07)
(page 3 of 3)
 
Then 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.

As 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
The 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.

Texas 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.

Among the 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."

The Future
Demerson in the governor's office is certain that businesses won't be disappointed: "Our goal is to create jobs in this state."

He 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!'"

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