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The Lone Star State’s Very Good Year

Texas has seen a significant increase in population and economic growth in recent years, attracting both domestic and foreign investment, largely due to the state’s favorable policies including no income tax, a reasonable regulatory burden, restrained government spending, as well as its successful energy sector.

Texas — it’s where America goes to grow. Disagree? Look at the data.

The U.S. Census Bureau estimates that between 2021 and 2022, the state gained 470,708 residents. That figure was enough to beat booming Florida, as well as surpass the combined increase of the Carolinas, Georgia, and Arizona. There are now more than 30 million Texans, and it’s not unreasonable, any longer, to fantasize about California losing its title as the most populous state.

Speaking of the Golden State, its decline is providing a major boost to Texas. In October, San Francisco-based Wells Fargo announced a new campus for Irving — “650 new jobs and $455 million in capital investment.” But the corporate-HQ relocations were downright embarrassing: Integrated Defense Products, Obagi Cosmeceuticals, Cellipoint Bioservices, The Boring Co., HBCU HUB, Chint Power Solutions, Mondee, [redacted], Anything Liquid Manufacturing. As California intensifies its self-destruction, Texas is happy to welcome the refugees.

Not that other states aren’t playing their part. New York’s TIAA is establishing “a new corporate center in Frisco” (2,000 jobs and “nearly $58 million in capital investment”) and Goldman Sachs is building a $500 million tower in downtown Dallas. West Virginia’s The Ziegenfelder Company is erecting a new factory in Lockhart. East Penn Manufacturing‘s “finishing and distribution center will bring more than $106 million in capital investment and over 260 new jobs to Temple and the surrounding area.”

Foreign direct investment is another contributor. Samsung, Volkswagen, Toshiba, GKN Aerospace, Maruichi Stainless Tube, Chewters Chocolates, and Omnilife are just a few of the companies that made commitments in 2022.

Texas is a mighty big place, and the dispersed nature of its economic expansion offers strong evidence that statewide policies — no income tax, a reasonable regulatory burden, restrained government spending, a right-to-work law — serve to supercharge growth. The U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics found that Texas claimed three of the nation’s top eight metropolitan statistical areas with “increases in nonfarm employment from November 2021 to November 2022”: McAllen-Edinburg-Mission (5.5 percent), Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land (5.6 percent), and Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington (6.1 percent). Business Facilities noted that “mid-sized communities” are now competing with “the big four metropolitans areas of the state” for investments.

Finally, there’s energy. Field production of petroleum rose by 7.1 percent between January and October — not back to the state’s pre-lockdown level, but close. In November, the “Biden administration … approved plans to build the nation’s largest oil export terminal off the Gulf Coast of Texas, which would add 2 million barrels per day to the U.S. oil export capacity.” Freeport LNG’s liquefaction facility, “offline since June after suffering damage from an explosion,” is slated to restart in “the second half of January.” And just a few days into the new year, the Biden administration abandoned “its plans to indirectly restrict Texas oil and natural gas production through a non-attainment designation of portions of the Texas Permian Basin.” Drill, baby, drill!

Indigenous leftists can wail all they want about their state being a hellhole. Much more often than not, it falls on deaf ears. The Texas model works. And it’s a policy approach that every state — within and without the Southwest — should emulate.

By D. Dowd Muska

Dowd brings nearly 30 years of research and writing experience to the Institute. A veteran of several think tanks, he is an expert on government at the municipal, county, state, and federal levels.

Raised on an apple orchard in the Connecticut River Valley, D. Dowd Muska is a researcher, writer, editor, and commentator. His focus is the nexus of fiscal policy, economic development, and technology.

Mr. Muska is the author of numerous policy studies, and his writing has appeared in newspapers throughout the nation, including the Las Vegas Review-Journal, The Detroit News, the Orlando Sentinel, the Cape Cod Times, the Santa Fe New Mexican, the Hartford Courant, the Waco Tribune-Herald, the Albuquerque Journal, the New Haven Register, and The Oklahoman. A graduate of The George Washington University, he lives in the Albuquerque metro area, but has started (very) early planning for a relocation to the Sierra Blanca in Lincoln County, New Mexico. He recently launched the Substack platform No Dowd About It.

3 replies on “The Lone Star State’s Very Good Year”

My current property taxes in NM are 3 x what they were when I lived on 25 acres in Tx, and I’ve only got 5 acres here. NM could learn so much from Texas in how to run a state.

It’s great for WallStreet Bankers supporting pathological liars and internet crimes against local small businesses with impunity. All you got todo is write the campaign donations to Greg Abbott and you can take any business segment with click fraud, fake leads posted on competitor web sites w/ robots, fraudulent ads and 24/7 auto dialers calling their sales staff (all behind VPN’s and fake google / Facebook accounts) until they all walk out. I think about Elon Musk, Greg Abbott, Ken Paxton and Ted Cruz when I think of these events against local successful small business that won’t play ball with WallStreet!

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