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Category Archives: Texas
To cite additional evidence in support of our position might have us justifiably accused of “selling past the close,” but this one we like because we found it off the beaten path, in The Weekly Standard.
In Lone Economic Star, Eli Lehrer reports that “in a nation looking for good economic news, Texas stands out as a bright spot.” Although the success “defies easy explanation,” Lehrer maintains that it’s a mix of good land/city planning, investing in research and the arts, and avoiding two mistakes that have an all-too-familiar ring to them: excessive government spending and poorly conceived private lending.
In May alone, Texas, America’s second most populous state, added over 75,000 jobs—more than California (the biggest), New York (third biggest), and Florida (fourth biggest) combined. Texas has shown consistent gains in 10 of the 11 categories of private employment that the Bureau of Labor Statistics measures. The state is far more than cowboys and oil: It has several of the nation’s leading medical research centers (Baylor and UT hospitals among them), one of the biggest computer makers (Dell), and a financial industry that never took a turn for the worse. And, even though unemployment remains a tick over 8 percent (about a point and a half lower than the national average), the rapid growth is bringing this down quickly. During the last week in June, the job-hunt website Monster.com offered more new job openings in Texas than in California even though the Golden State has over 10 million more people.
Forbes analyzed IRS data to determine future “hot spots” for real estate and concluded what we already knew: Americans prefer the good weather, low taxes, and favorable business climate offered by the Southeast.
The dominance of the list by Florida and Texas–the former has eight of the top 20 counties, the latter four– makes sense to Robert Shrum, manager of state affairs at the Tax Foundation in Washington, D.C., since neither state has an income tax. “If you’re a high-income earner, then that, from a tax perspective, is going to be a driving decider if you’re going to move to one of those two states,” Shrum says.
After accounting for property taxes, Shrum’s analysis shows that Texas has the fourth-lowest personal tax burden in the country, and Florida has the eighth lowest. Shrum also points to eight states that have targeted wealthy households with extra-high tax brackets: California, New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Hawaii, Oregon, Connecticut and Wisconsin. Six of the top 10 counties the rich are fleeing are located in those states.
The Chicago Tribune urges Illinois not to become a “New Michigan” or “New California” but instead mimic states such as FL, GA, VA, TN, TX, and NC. In an April 11 op-ed entitled The Illinois Spiral they reference the third edition of Rich States, Poor States (from the American Legislative Exchange Council) in which our region scores very well:
ALEC ranked states’ economic outlook vs. their 10 year (1998-2008) economic performance based on 15 policy variables which influence the overall business climate. The results look vaguely familiar to us, and are another vote of confidence in the Southeast as a preferred region in which to work, live, and invest:
21. North Carolina
50. New York
As the Tribune puts it:
Employers tend to be harder-headed in deciding where to invest their money than our lawmakers are in spending other people’s money. The employers see Illinois pols dithering through a crisis, inviting an even more bleak future with their refusal to reform government spending and reduce what it costs to have a payroll in Illinois:
• Nor have you heard Illinois leaders, in their to and fro over an income tax hike, confront a 2009 report by the American Legislative Exchange Council: A decade’s worth of hard data suggests that states with no individual income tax created 89 percent more jobs, and had 32 percent faster personal income growth, than did states with the highest income tax rates. The report also analyzed 15 policy factors that influence a state’s growth prospects — tax burdens, debt service, tort climate, mandated minimum wage, spending limits if any — and ranked Illinois’ economic outlook as an alarming 44th in the U.S.
• Nor have you heard Illinois leaders confront this state’s devastating rank in job creation, 48th, and ask how they can be friendlier to present and potential employers. Illinois — with its overspending, its borrowing and its worst-in-America pension crisis — faces massive obligations that give potential employers pause. Add to this toxic mix Illinois’ high cost of workers compensation and its 49th-in-the-U.S. bond ratings. How surprised, then, are we that since 1990 Illinois has underperformed the U.S. in job growth?
The New York Times confirms another reason for the Southeast’s attractive growth potential and why increasing numbers of entrepreneurs are deciding to build their businesses in the region: lower state debt burdens. As the attached graph shows, the problem worsens dramatically when one considers many states’ unfunded pension liabilities. (Click thumbnail for “top” 25 states for debt-to-GDP, “Overloaded with Debts Unseen”.)
Not only will such debt levels likely lead to growth-stalling tax increases on the businesses that operate in those states, but some of the states are also responding in “desperate ways” which could undermine investor confidence and result in a credit squeeze similar to that currently experienced by Greece (and perhaps someday by other PIGS.)
State Debt Woes Grow Too Big to Camouflage
By MARY WILLIAMS WALSH
California, New York and other states are showing many of the same signs of debt overload that recently took Greece to the brink — budgets that will not balance, accounting that masks debt, the use of derivatives to plug holes, and armies of retired public workers who are counting on benefits that are proving harder and harder to pay.
Complete NYTimes article here
Original American Enterprise Institute white paper here
UPDATE (3/31/10, 3:08PM):
Having had a chance to digest the original white paper, we are even more pleased than before to report that only one state – NE – has a lower debt-to-GDP % than FL (5th), GA (4th), TN (2nd), NC (3rd), TX and VA (tied for 6th).
A recent study in Science magazine indicates that states with the highest taxes also have the least happy residents. The Wall Street Journal, reporting on the study, argues that the causation is high taxes = unhappiness. While we are certainly sympathetic to that point of view, we also have to wonder if it runs vice-versa, or at least cuts both ways: unhappy people like to raise taxes.
We are… happy. And happy to report that’s true for our region as well. Here is a *totally random* sample of states’ rankings on the happiness of their residents. See below the jump for the entire story.
12. North Carolina
51. New York
Ballast Point Ventures had a busy November, completing two new growth equity investments: Horizon Data Center Solutions and Tower Cloud. “We are excited to partner with the Horizon and Tower Cloud teams,” said Paul Johan, BPV Partner. “Both companies are focused in rapidly growing industry segments, and we look forward to leveraging our experience and network to help fuel substantial continued growth.”
Horizon Data Center Solutions provides data center co-location services and a suite of high touch managed services primarily to small and mid-sized businesses. Tower Cloud is a leading provider of mobile backhaul services to wireless carriers nationally, with a particular emphasis on the Southeast.
Forbes reports that the nation’s professional classes continue to move to the Southeast and Texas:
Net migration, both before and after the Great Recession, according to analysis by the Praxis Strategy Group, has continued to be strongest to the predominately red states of the South and Intermountain West.
This seems true even for those seeking high-end jobs. Between 2006 and 2008, the metropolitan areas that enjoyed the fastest percentage shift toward educated and professional workers and industries included nominally “unhip” places like Indianapolis, Charlotte, N.C., Memphis, Tenn., Salt Lake City, Jacksonville, Fla., Tampa, Fla., and Kansas City, Mo.
The overall migration numbers are even more revealing. As was the case for much of the past decade, the biggest gainers continue to include cities such as San Antonio, Dallas and Houston. Rather than being oases for migrants, some oft-cited magnets such as New York, Boston, Los Angeles and Chicago have all suffered considerable loss of population to other regions over the past year.
The venture capital industry started in the Northeast and is still largely based there and on the West Coast. But given the relative attractiveness of the Southeastern and Texan economies for entrepreneurs, the future of the venture industry may be right here.
It looks like investments in young companies are beginning to flow again, but venture capitalists remain cautious.
Investments in early stage companies in Dallas, the state and the nation rose in the third quarter from the previous quarter but still were down from a year ago, according to a MoneyTree report released Monday by PricewaterhouseCoopers, the National Venture Capital Association and Thomson Reuters.
Texas stood out in the quarter. With $197.9 million invested in 23 deals from July through September, the state trailed only California and Massachusetts in attracting venture capital. Those investments were up from the second quarter, but down from a year earlier.