Lieutenant governor says state economy healthy (video)
Feb. 9, 2012 at 5:01 p.m.
Updated Feb. 9, 2012 at 8:10 p.m.
It's good to be a Texan.
That was state Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst's message Thursday when he updated about 150 people at the Victoria Chamber of Commerce's monthly luncheon about the state and national economies.
The Lone Star State boasts the fastest-growing population and leads the nation in job creation, business relocation, home building and Fortune 1,000 companies, he said.
Dewhurst attributed that success to a can-do spirit and a push to create the nation's best business climate.
The state prioritized, he said, investing record amounts in education, and maintained the lightest hand possible, regarding regulation.
Efforts to lower medical malpractice issues also helped, he said, noting the absence of frivolous lawsuits means that, rather than losing 1,000 doctors per year as had happened in the past, the state has gained 18,000 physicians since 2003.
The key to it all is taxes and spending, Dewhurst said.
During the past eight years, the Legislature cut spending and taxes by billions, he said, adding Texas has the second-lowest tax rate in the nation. Since 2007, the Legislature passed 51 bills that cut more than $14.6 billion in taxes for businesses, individuals and homeowners.
"People talk about the Texas miracle," he said. "Folks ... there's no such thing as the Texas miracle. It's been hard work. Hard work on our part, hard work on your part."
The situation is slightly different on the national level, said Dewhurst, who is a candidate for the Republican nomination for U.S. Senator.
An avalanche of job-killing regulations are paralyzing businesses, he said, noting issues such as the endangered species list. While it's important to protect animals and their habitats, Dewhurst said 1,310 animals sit on the list, any one of which could shut down an entire business operation in a heartbeat.
Also, although many CEOs say they have more cash now than ever, they say they're waiting until November to invest in new jobs and the like, for fear of what the future holds.
"Waiting through November while you have 13 million unemployed, 23 million underemployed. Wow," he said. "We've got to get America back to work."
Ernie Pemberton, with the Texas Veterans Commission, attended the chamber event and said he enjoyed what the lieutenant governor had to say. As a veterans employment representative, he said Dewhurst's comments regarding Texas' well-being especially hit home.
"I get calls from veterans in other states all the time, telling me they want to move to Texas for oil jobs," he said. "People do want to come here because they know there's not a recession, so to speak."