Office of the Governor Rick Perry

Gov. Rick Perry's Remarks At The Erickson Retirement Communities

*Note - Gov. Perry frequently departs from prepared remarks.
Wednesday, May 19, 2004  •  Speech

Thank you John (Erickson.)  It is a great honor to welcome a renowned philanthropist and respect businessman such as yourself to Texas.

Today I am delighted to join Erickson Communities, and several retirees, to announce the establishment of an Erickson Retirement Community in Houston that will open in 2005.  This moderately-priced retirement community will benefit many Texas retirees looking for an affordable living arrangement, comprehensive healthcare services, and access to a variety of amenities and lifestyle activities that can enrich their lives.  With a $200 million investment, this Erickson Retirement Community at Eagle’s Trace will create 1,000 jobs and, generate new and recurring revenues by expanding the tax base of Houston.  And it will help meet the needs of a growing senior population in Texas, a state which is among the top five destinations in the nation for migrating retirees.

Erickson Retirement Communities focus on the needs of retirees with a modest income.  Not only will many retirees find their final retirement destination here at Eagle’s Trace, but they will have ready access to routine, emergency and specialty healthcare, pharmacy services, a variety of wellness and physical activities, and faith-based services.  Here they will not just retire to a home, but a vibrant and caring community.

I am glad to announce that Erickson is not only building its 13th retirement community across the nation in Houston, but is looking to purchase property in the Dallas area too.  That investment is likely to also add 1,000 jobs, meaning Erickson’s total new investment in Texas will produce a job gain of 2,000 jobs.  I recently declared the month of May “Older Texans Month” to promote the theme “Living Well, Aging Well.”  Today we celebrate a major investment that will help retirees to live well and age well at a moderate cost.

Following the recent announcement by Citgo that they are moving their corporate headquarters and 700 jobs to Houston, this is one more sign that the outlook for Houston workers and their wages is getting brighter.  Erickson Retirement Communities saw Texas as a burgeoning market where their business could expand successfully because of the strong economic conditions we have worked to secure in the last 16 months.

Texas is a more attractive place for entrepreneurs to grow their businesses because we addressed lawsuit abuse, took a principled and discipline approach to our state budget, and renewed the effort to attract more jobs and employers.  We have just received updated job numbers today, and the news continues to get better as Texas has experienced seven straight months of job gains, with a net gain of 88,000 new jobs since September.  Most economic indicators are encouraging.  Our sales tax revenues far outpaced our comptroller’s projections for the month of March.  High-tech manufacturing posted its first gain this quarter in three years, largely because of semiconductor growth.  According to a survey done of 50 top employers in California, among those looking to move jobs to another state, Texas was the top destination of choice.  Our taxes remain low, our regulatory climate is reasonable, and our workforce is skilled.  We have our own power grid and we are now the nation’s largest exporter of goods.   Texans can be proud of that record.  It is the envy of many private sector leaders who are now looking to Texas to grow and prosper. 

We are proud to welcome one more highly regarded employer to Texas, Erickson retirement Communities.  It is my honor to ask John Erickson to share his thoughts on this exciting new venture.

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