Business Writers Talking Points
Thank you for joining us.
I’m optimistic about the state of the Texas economy because:
1. Many leading economic indicators are on the rise.
2. From September of 2003 to January of 2005, we have experienced a net job growth of 162,000 jobs.
3. We recently were named the best business climate by Site Selection Magazine…a distinction we hadn’t earned in many years.
4. And we have gone from a record shortfall of $10 billion to a revenue surplus in two short years.
Even as early as 2003, we began to see positive signs:
1. We had nine of the 24 largest capital investments announced that year, and the single largest…the $3 billion Texas Instruments plant.
2. In 2004, in the first quarter of the year, the Vought announcement to add 3,000 jobs in Texas was the single largest nationwide, and then we more than doubled it with the Countrywide decision to bring 7,500 jobs.
It’s important to remember that the Texas Enterprise Fund is not so much about the jobs we create today as it is the jobs we will create tomorrow.
It’s not realistic to expect jobs to move here one day after they are announced or in many cases, one year later. But just as importantly, employers receiving Enterprise Fund grants are held to the jobs they promise.
I have proposed a separate fund for emerging technologies because just as the Enterprise Fund brings jobs to Texas one employer at a time, an emerging technology fund will bring jobs to Texas one industry at a time.
An emerging technology fund is needed to build the economy of the future based on the growth industries of the future.
This fund will be used to create:
1. Regional Centers of Innovation and Commercialization…
2. attract federal research grants…
3. and develop research superiority.
I saw a great example of why this fund is needed less than two weeks ago.
In San Antonio I visited Vidacare…a company that has developed a new technology to get IV fluids to patients quicker when they are in trauma and their veins are collapsing. It’s now being used in Iraq and by some Texas trauma centers. Imagine how many lives it could have saved if its creator… Dr. Larry Miller…didn’t have to spend two years finding funding sources while pioneering this technology at the U.T. Health Science Center.
And imagine how much it would help future innovations if the benefits now being reaped by this new commercial success accrued to Texas institutions and Texas investors rather than our friends in New York and California?
I’m asking legislators to make investments to grow our world-class research institutions…develop cutting edge technologies…and harvest the miracle of modern science with a new $300 million Emerging Technology Fund.
Over the next ten years, California is investing $3 billion in one area of biotechnology…Ohio is putting up $1.1 billion for technology commercialization…and Kansas is investing half a billion dollars in biotechnology. We can’t afford to be left behind.
In the next ten years, emerging technologies will generate $3 trillion in revenue worldwide. The question is, where will those investments be made, and who will reap the benefits?
Where will the better, faster computer architecture be designed…the gene therapies and treatments that will rescue people from terminal and chronic diseases…the cleaner technologies that will clean the air our children breathe?
I want them developed in Texas labs by Texas minds to the benefit of the Texas economy.
This is a test of our vision: will we succumb to short-term thinking, or invest in limitless possibilities?
My philosophy is this: the best way to fund public investments is to invest in jobs, growth and opportunity. If other states were not aggressively offering incentives to attract jobs and technology industries, we wouldn’t need these funds. But we can’t unilaterally disarm at the expense of our own future prosperity.
We have to invest in jobs to invest in education, health care and other priorities.
Thank you. I would be happy to take your questions…
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