The Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce hosted Governor Greg Abbott at its “Leaders in Government” event on March 15 at The Worthington Renaissance Hotel. Following a brief meet-and-greet reception with local business leaders and elected officials, Governor Abbott provided in-depth remarks about Texas’ economic competitiveness.
Governor Abbott made two things clear in his remarks:
To highlight the state’s past success, Governor Abbott noted that Texas has ranked as the number one state to do business for 18 consecutive years. Texas has won the Governor’s Cup for 11 consecutive years. Governor Abbott noted that CEOs frequently cite the state’s business climate and workforce as primary drivers for their decision to locate in Texas.
For all the success Texas has achieved over the years, Governor Abbott also identified key policy decisions that must be made in order for the Lone Star State to retain its position as the best place to do business.
Texas has a budget surplus of roughly $32 billion, which the Governor was sure to credit to robust business activity across the state (especially when compared to a state like California, which currently faces a budget deficit of nearly $25 billion). Governor Abbott reiterated his desire to see the Legislature allocate roughly half of the budget surplus – or potentially even more – in property tax relief for Texans.
The Governor also expressed how valuable economic development incentive tools can be, citing the loss of a Micron semiconductor plant to the state of New York. With the expiration of Chapter 313, Texas is without the tools necessary to remain competitive for capital intensive projects and risks losing out on the creation of new jobs and economic growth as a result. Governor Abbott encouraged attendees to voice their support of a new incentive tool with their State Representatives and State Senators.
Lastly, Governor Abbott noted that progress has been made in enhancing the reliability of Texas’ electric grid, but also said more needs to be done to accommodate the state’s rapid growth. He hopes to see the state add 5 megawatts of capacity to meet peak demand needs moving forward.
The Fort Worth Chamber is aligned with Governor Abbott on the goals of ensuring Texas remains the best place to do business in the entire country. The Governor told the crowd gathered on Wednesday that “policy decisions have consequences.” The business community must continue working with elected officials to ensure those policy decisions have the consequences we all hope for: a Fort Worth region and a State of Texas that continues to lead the way in job creation and economic growth.
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