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2023 TAB Wrap Up

Updated: Jan 5

By Glenn Hamer, TAB CEO

The Texas Association of Business (TAB) delivered a strong ROI to job creators in 2023. As TAB CEO, I want to start by thanking Chairman Massey Villarreal for his leadership. TAB is the fourth chamber that Massey has chaired, and I like to call him a player-manager because he's involved in every aspect of our game plan. 

I want to highlight a few of our top achievements during the 88th Legislative Session

  • A new powerful and transparent economic development incentive (JETI Act)

  • $18 billion in property tax relief that benefits every property owner in the state

  • Doubling of the franchise tax exemption

  • Passage of the Regulatory Consistency Act, which puts an end to cities piling layer after layer of varying regulations on job creators 

  • Historic investments in outcomes-based community college finance reform

  • Major new investments in our research universities for semiconductors, quantum computing, AI, space, and a new sustainable fund for universities

  • Historic investments in infrastructure for broadband, water, energy, ports and roads

  • A best in class data privacy law that protects small businesses and consumers

  • Creation of business courts and other reforms to our judiciary system befitting of, as Gov. Abbott likes to say, the “headquarters of headquarters”

All of this in the backdrop of our Governor and his economic development team, quarterbacked by Adriana Cruz, racking up win after win. CEO Magazine has now ranked Texas as the Best State for Business for 19 years; Site Selection Magazine has awarded Texas the Governor’s Cup for 11 straight years. We have more Fortune 500 companies (55) than any other state, export more goods, including tech products and added more jobs than any other states as our workforce is at an all-time high employment level. 

If ranked as a country, our $2.3 trillion economy, would be the eighth largest, ahead of Italy. At the Chanukah Party Gov. Abbott revealed that we could pass France in 2024 to become number seven!

On the trade side our Mexico Trade and Investment Policy Council inked five MOUs with leading Mexican business groups, bringing the total number to seven. As we deal with tricky trade and migration issues these agreements will give the private sector a bigger role in driving solutions. 

We also are advancing our relationship with the most important technology player on the plants on a per capita basis, Israel. At our Policy Conference we heard accounts of the October 7th atrocities from Dr. Miriam Adelson. From the Deputy Mayor of Jerusalem, Fleur Hassan-Nahoum, we learned of the promise of the Abraham Accords. The year started with the largest pro-Israel conference organized by the Israel Action Council hosting 3000+ in Austin. 

Many thanks to the TAB team. Megan Mauro leads our policy strategy and coalition building efforts, particularly Tech Means Business and Second Chance. Katie Zarate did an outstanding double duty, leading our communications and events. Jeff Emerick continues to strengthen our member relations. Stephanie Matthews is an expert on education policy matters; Matt Abel is creative on finding tough legislative solutions and runs our healthcare portfolio expertly. David Zapata strengthens TAB relationships with the administrations of the four neighboring Mexican states, that are deep and unique. I’m glad that we now have Spencer Sallee leading our federal efforts after working at one of the great chambers in America, the Longview Chamber. Julia Muzquiz will soon take over TAB events; she comes from the US-Mexico Foundation, which puts on the most important North American Conference, the North Capital Form in Mexico City. I am also grateful for the work of Drew Scheberle on many complex issues, as well as running the Texas Chamber of Commerce Executives. Chelsie Kramer is a superb regional chair and immigration reform expert (best in country). Speaking of regions, a special shout out to regional heads Sam Kelner and Sergio Contreras.  Big thanks to Cindy Marks for keeping me in one piece and for Theresa Drew for administrative support for the whole team. My thanks also to John Wittman, Ray Sullivan, Luis Saenz, Logan Spence and David Borowich Ya’ari for their help. 

TAB works at both the state and federal level to maximize the pro-business climate. We had a great DC Fly-In where we heard from Senators John Cornyn and Kyrsten Sinema. A delegation of TAB members and leaders from Arizona Chamber of Commerce & Industry met with numerous Congressmen. Susan Lilly was gracious enough to co-host a roundtable with Congressman Tony Gonzales and Congressman Juan Ciscomani.

We have built a great friendship with Mexican Federal Senator, Gina Cruz, who invited me to speak before two senate committees on nearshoring.

Wishing all a prosperous and healthy 2024. To paraphrase my colleague Dale Petroskey the leader of the Dallas Regional Chamber. “Texas is in a sweet moment of time.” Together let’s extend and improve this magical time and count our blessings that we live in Texas. 


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