Office of the Governor Rick Perry

Talking Texas In Switzerland

By Governor Rick Perry
Monday, February 03, 2014  •  Austin, Texas  •  Editorial

Today, no discussion of the world's economy or economic future is truly complete without including the State of Texas.

That's a point I made last week as I met with global leaders in business and government at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

If I made nothing else clear, it's that Texas has emerged as a critical figure on the world stage.

The facts support this. We're the nation's top exporter, as we have been for 11 years in a row. Our economy - on its own - is the 14th largest in the world. In 2012, the Texas real GDP grew by 4.8 percent, vastly outstripping the U.S. growth of 2.5 percent. And our jobs-friendly economic climate continues to attract attention and investment from companies around the globe.

As the only U.S. governor in attendance, I had a rare perspective to share with world leaders in business and government.

I told them not all states are created equal, and that Texas is not only unique, but that it strongly adheres to the core American principles of individual freedom, limited government and personal responsibility.

I shared with them the success we've earned by empowering people to use their freedoms and innovative spirit to explore new ways of doing business, find new ways to efficiently serve people and create new ways of treating disease.

I told them about our steadfast commitment to keeping taxes low, regulations predictable and effective, our courts fair and our workforce ready to fill any need an employer might have.

Those are the principles that have made America great, and while our federal government has lost its way - leading far too many states down that same path - Texas remains dedicated to doing things the right way.

I was honored to speak with dignitaries such as former U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan, Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos and Israeli President Shimon Peres, discussing a wide range of topics, including health care and drug policy. I also took the opportunity to visit with leaders like Jacob Frenkel of JP Morgan Chase International, Sir John Peace of Standard Chartered Bank and Group Chief Officer Martin Senn of Zurich Insurance Group.

In addition to promoting what we've built here in Texas, the trip was instrumental in assessing where people are, globally, and what they're looking for when it comes to an economy in which to invest.

One thing I sensed was a growing malaise at the idea of governments handing money out to the people they represent. Too many people have grown up in generations that know no other way of life, but the truth is, that approach is simply doomed to ultimate failure.

As I maintained to people I met throughout my trip, the best way to lift people out of poverty is by clearing the way for a vibrant private sector to create jobs and opportunity. That's what we've done in Texas, and the results are irrefutable. Three out of every 10 jobs created in America over the last decade have been created in Texas.

As Dallas Fed President Richard Fisher pointed out last month, Texas is creating jobs of all types, leading the nation in the creation of high-paying jobs, median-paying jobs and minimum-wage jobs.

What that means is we've created an atmosphere where companies of every size - from global industries like Samsung to a two-person operation launched out of someone's garage - can grow and thrive.

We've invested in industries of the future, from the private-sector space race to our growing presence as a biotech leader and home to cutting-edge research at UT-Austin, Texas A&M and other universities across the state.

I shared all this with people in a position to make smart decisions about their company's future, and I know when they think about where to expand or relocate, Texas will be one of the first places to jump to their minds.

By staying committed to what's made Texas great, we can keep them all thinking about Texas for generations to come.

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