IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: Business Facilities Magazine- The Lone Star State is Flexing its Muscles
Texas is bucking the economic trends and maintaining strong growth in income and employment.
Although the nation's economy has experienced a recent slowdown, the Texas economy continues to rev up. With the 12th largest economy in the world (if it were considered a nation), Texas now leads the U.S. in job creation, gross state product, low unemployment rate, and foreign direct investment. Part of the Lone Star State's success stems from proactive government policies and incentives, low taxes, reasonable regulations, solid infrastructure, and good quality of life.
In September, Texas Governor Rick Perry and Dr. Arthur Laffer unveiled an economic study comparing two of the nation's economic heavyweights: Texas and California. According to the study, Texas has a superior economic climate with growth in income, wealth, and employment projected to strengthen relative to California and the nation as a whole. In July, CNBC announced that Texas is America's Top State for Business and Chief Executive Officer magazine recently named Texas the Best State to Do Business for the third year in a row.
In addition to Texas' strong economy, several government incentives have been proactive in making Texas the go-to state for a myriad of industries including aerospace and defense; advanced technologies and manufacturing; biotechnology and life sciences; energy, information and computer technology; and petroleum refining and chemical products. Some of the most recent significant new relocation and expansion projects include Alorica, Inc. (600 jobs), Caterpillar Inc. (140 jobs), Subsea7 (180 jobs), and Shintech (150 jobs).
Some of the largest expansion and investment projects in 2008 were awarded Texas Enterprise Fund (TEF) monies, including HelioVolt Corp. of Austin ($62 million), Santana Textiles ($170 million), Martifer Energy Systems LLC ($40 million), and United States Bowling Congress ($13 million).
Said to be one of the most competitive tools Texas has, TEF is used to recruit new businesses and also assist them with expansions within the state. Since TEF's creation in 2003, it has helped close the deal on projects generating more than 51,000 new jobs and $13.7 billion in capital investment.
The most recent company to take advantage of the state's TEF program is Portuguese-owned Martifer Energy Systems LLC. In September 2008, Martifer Energy received a $945,000 TEF award to locate its projected $40-million wind energy tower manufacturing plant in San Angelo, creating 225 new jobs.
"Along with other incentives, the Texas Enterprise Fund was a key determinant in our decision to locate this plant in Texas," said António Pontes, CEO of Martifer Energy Systems. "We look forward to working in Texas to advance our efforts in becoming a global player in the supply of wind farm turnkey projects."
Another successful economic development program, the Texas Emerging Technology Fund (ETF) continues to make strides in attracting new technology companies to the state. The ETF is a $200-million initiative that helps commercialize university research by taking it from the labs to the marketplace. In 2008, ETF invested $10.83 million in 14 early-stage technology companies, leveraging $3.8 million in matching funds.
Investments include: Institute for Cyber Security ($1 million), Center for Transitional Injury Research at the University of Texas Health Science Center ($5 million), the College of Engineering's Nano Tech Center at Texas Tech University ($2 million), Xintronix Corporation Inc. ($500,000), and Halsa Pharmaceuticals, Inc. ($250,000).
The most recent example of the ETF's success is the University of Texas at San Antonio's (UTSA) Institute for Cyber Security (ICS) selection as a five-year $7.5-million Department of Defense grant recipient in June 2008. ICS, a leader in cyber security research, was created in 2007 with a $3.5-million grant from the ETF. ICS will develop and test security models to safeguard the transfer of data among government agencies. ICS is one of several components in San Antonio's effort to attract the Air Force Cyber Command Center, which could add 500 permanent jobs to the local economy.
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