To help Texas maintain its edge, Governor Rick Perry formed the Governor’s Task Force for Economic Growth to advise both short-term and long-term opportunities for economic growth in the state. Today CEOs deal directly with the governor and the governor’s staff in negotiating future prospects. Texas sets out to be competitive with any state or country in its efforts to attract, retain and grow business opportunities.
To ensure a pro-business climate, the state created the $295m Texas Enterprise Fund and merged all economic development and tourism functions into the governor’s office. The state legislature passed the most sweeping tort reform in the US, which is expected to create more than 240,000 permanent jobs and add $36bn to the Texan economy.
Texas offers one of the lowest tax burdens in the nation, ranking 48th among the 50 states in per capita state taxes. The overall tax burden is 32% lower than the national average. There is no personal income tax, no state tax on machinery and equipment used in manufacturing, no state-level property tax, no state tax on goods in transit, and no tax on electricity used in processing, fabricating and manufacturing.
Nearly 25% of the state’s population in 2003 held a bachelor’s degree or higher. Educational institutions include 35 public universities, 38 private colleges and universities, and 50 community colleges. Among them are Baylor University, Rice University, Southern Methodist University, Texas A&M University, Texas A&M University System Health Sciences Center, Texas Tech University, Texas Christian University, Texas State University-San Marcos, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, The University of Texas at Austin, and Trinity University.
In its efforts to plan for the future, Texas is undertaking the enormous Trans Texas Corridor plan to incorporate toll and non-toll roads, high-speed freight and commuter rail, water lines, oil and gas pipelines, electric transmission lines, broadband and other telecoms infrastructure in the same corridors. The scheme is necessary, given population projections that indicate growth from 21 million today to 50 million in the next few decades. When all segments of the corridor are completed, the system will provide about 4000 miles of roads, rail, water pipelines and lift stations to transport water from border to border, as well as broadband, oil and gas pipelines, and electric utilities.