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Free Enterprise Powers Texas Economy

Updated: Mar 29, 2022

This week in Austin, the US Chamber hosted its Chamber Commerce Committee of 100 (CCC100), which TAB CEO Glenn Hamer chairs.

Topics ranged from education to economics and trade. Throughout all of these conversations, one theme rang consistent - the power of free enterprise.

The University of Texas President Jay Hartzell, who previously served as Dean of the McCombs School of Business, shared his vision for UT's developing think tank. He hopes to educate students on how concepts like free enterprise can further society and maximize individual liberties. TAB advocates for partnerships between businesses and community and technical colleges, not only to prepare the future workforce, but also to re-skill and up-skill current workers. Check out our webinar series on this topic.

Governor Greg Abbott, who participated in a fireside chat with TAB CEO Glenn Hamer, celebrated that several Texas research universities have achieved Tier One status. That speaks volumes of the quality education that is offered at Texas colleges and universities, which is a key component of building a skilled workforce.

Glenn asked the Governor what Texas is doing differently than other states: "Businesses and families are moving to Texas because we provide an environment that allows people to succeed on their own terms," Governor Abbott said. "Texas offers a brand of freedom unlike any other state in America—we have no state income tax, we've cut red tape and burdensome regulations, and we continue to invest in our young, diverse, and ever-growing workforce. We are committed to cultivating this thriving economic climate in the years to come to ensure that all Texans have the ability to achieve their dreams."

Governor Abbott also credited local chambers and economic development teams for the record number of companies moving here from other states. In conversations with Elon Musk, Governor Abbott shared that a light regulatory touch and Texas' business-friendly culture was a big draw. "Texas moves at the speed of business," Abbott said. Governor Abbott often touts the power of the Made in Texas brand. Domestic manufacturing, particularly on the energy front, is important not just for global competitiveness – but for national security. All eyes are on Russia and Ukraine right now, in no small part because of the tight grip Russia has on energy in that part of the world. The Governor reassured the crowd that Texas is setting new highs in oil and natural gas and will continue setting new highs. "All forms of energy are essential to national security," said Abbott. And, he added, Texas is the example that you can have fossil fuels and lead on renewables at the same time. One of the final panels of the day was on trade, a fundamental element to the Texas economy. The conversation was between trade experts: TAB’s Glenn Hamer, Kris Johnson (President and CEO of the Association of Washington Business) and John Murpy (SVP for International Policy at the US Chamber).

Glenn touted Texas as the top exporter in the U.S. “Texas exports more than California, New York and North Carolina combined,” he said.

Mexico is our largest trading partner, and trade agreements have furthered the Texas economy by improving trade relations. The USMCA is a great example of this. We should look to expand our trade partners to include allies like the UK.

Hamer commented that the new frontier of trade is digital. USMCA provides some initial guidelines to address this new field, but the USA needs to play a leading role as the rules and guidelines of digital trade begin to develop and settle in.

As long as Texas continues to work alongside businesses, embrace economic diversification, and keep regulations light… The Lone Star State will continue to be ranked the Best State for Business many years to come.

By Katie Greer, TAB Communications Director


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