As Texans, we understand that our stereotype is to be bold individuals quick to brag on our accomplishments. It’s a stigma that comes from our state’s upbringing, when our ancestors came upon nothing more than a raw swath of land with only a vision for greatness and turned Texas into a place bigger than life. If there is one thing, in my opinion, that Texans have earned, it’s the right to be proud about how we became and continue to be the beacon of hope and economic prosperity in this nation.
By all accounts, Texas made good on the prediction that we would be the first state out of this global economic downturn. Our economy is growing and starting to produce output similar to that of just before the 2008 recession began. Take for example our state’s sales tax collection numbers, probably the most direct measure of economic activity in Texas. For many consecutive months now, we have experienced strong sales tax revenue growth. In January, for example, Texas collected 9.5% more in sales tax revenue than we did in January of the previous year. Using that same measure, July sales tax collections were up 10.3%, August 11.9% and October 15.9%. In November, our state collected $2 billion in sales tax revenue for the first time during this recovery.
Our consumers are more confident, able to invest in our economy and not hesitant to do so. But to me, the most welcoming sign of recovery is in our state’s job growth. In 2011, Texas added a whopping 260,000 new private sector jobs to its employment rolls. Leading that growth were such industries as business services, trade and transportation, hospitality, manufacturing and financial services. Despite our continued strong population growth, our state unemployment rate is in sharp decline. In just the three months of September to December, our unemployment figure fell from 8.5% to 7.8%, nearly a full point. In fact, December marked the 60th consecutive month (or five straight years) that our unemployment rate has been equal to or less than the national average.
Numbers are one thing, but we can also see the economic rebound in more quantifiable ways. General Electric will soon be opening a new manufacturing facility in Denton County, bringing with it $96 million in capital investment and 775 new, high-tech manufacturing jobs. This is but one example in our area where significant growth is occurring.
Though naysayers would like for us to believe otherwise, as Texans we know that this recovery success did not come about through coincidence. Rather it stems from a strong economic plan centered on low taxes, sound state spending plans that don’t burden our economy with more than it can support, a responsible regulatory climate, a judicial system that discourages frivolous lawsuits and a business-friendly approach to the critical decisions facing our state. People love to refer to our success as the “Texas Miracle”, but I think it is better described as the “Texas Plan”, because together we put forth this roadmap for economic success instead of just crossing our fingers and hoping for the best.
For five years I have had the privilege of being an advocate for our economy’s well being in the Texas House of Representatives. I am proud that I have been honored with the Texas Association of Business’ Champion For Free Enterprise distinction for three consecutive sessions for the policy directions I have supported in handling our economy. Despite all of our economic success in Texas, the greatest threat to our economic prosperity remains the lack of discipline and business-friendly policies constantly being implemented in Washington DC. As I continue my service, you can be assured that I will continue to view every critical decision and every vote I cast through the looking glass of how this will effect economic growth and further job creation.
As always, it is an honor to serve you in the Texas House of Representatives and I welcome your feedback on this and any other critical state issues. If you would like to share a thought with me, please feel free to contact me at my Capitol office at 512.463.0688 or by e-mail at [email protected]