I found this piece in the LA Times over the holiday weekend — it takes a brutally honest look at the Texas economy. One of every four jobs in the U.S. has been created in Texas post-recession — something I know you’ve heard here before, but the sound is now resonating loud and clear across the nation all the way to L.A. Which is why, of course, Rick Perry is exploring a presidential run. Never mind that he has not had all that much to do with those jobs (not all CEO’s that’s for sure) as well as keeping our economy afloat and one of the high spots in the U.S.A. But as the writer, Rick Wartzman, points out, Texas has some quirks that can not be replicated elsewhere. For one, when the price at the pumps go up, so do we:
“Aspects of the Texas economy are unusual, if not unique, and it will be difficult or impossible for other states to replicate them. For example, the energy industry is booming right now, as are agricultural commodities destined for export — a boon for a huge cotton and beef producer like Texas.
What’s more, thorny trade-offs surely exist. Texas is attracting businesses, in part, because it has low taxes. But that, in turn, makes for a smaller safety net, which is one reason Texas has a high incidence of poverty and, compared with every other state, the biggest proportion of its population without health insurance. There are also serious questions about the quality of jobs in Texas. A “right to work” state, it is tied with Mississippi for having the biggest percentage of workers paid at or below the minimum wage.
But even with these significant caveats, Texas has long been the most robust jobs engine in the country, and its policies and practices deserve deeper reflection. Some say, for example, that an increase in education funding 25 years ago lifted the quality of the workforce. “That set the table for job expansion,” Fort Worth Star-Telegram columnist Mitchell Schnurman has asserted. (Budget pressures in Texas are now forcing education spending to go in the other direction.)”
Also worth a second look: the way we limit HELOC lines on homes to 80% loan to value ratio, which saved our butts big time this last go ’round. And we passed tort reform, which has helped medicine somewhat and is one reason why businesses are relocating here. Our real estate market did not bubble in most areas, our high end market is doing quite well.
And that may be one reason why Glenn Beck decided to relocate here to North Texas. His move means that, more than ever, Texas is going to be in the limelight as a place where we have done many things right these last few years. Looking at the other side of the political spectrum, last fall, Glenn Close came to Dallas looking for underwriting for a film she desperately wants to make, a project she and her producer, Dallas native Bonnie Curtis, affectionately call “Nobbs.” Albert Nobbs is a feature film adaptation of George Moore’s Irish short story of the same name, and Glenn says when she played the role of Albert off Broadway twenty years ago, she felt a connection that never left her. Here’s a Dallas connection that will never leave her: Glenn picked up major bucks to get “Nobbs” into production.
Those of us who know exactly what goes into the sausage may be snickering, but like an 80 year old woman with a great facelift, we are looking pretty darn good to everyone else. Countless CEOs want to snag a second or third home here to take advantage of our lack of a state income tax. I say, come on in and drop some major bucks in our economy along the way.
All this, my dear readers, is good news for Texas property values.