President Obama visited Texas Thursday as a part of his “Middle Class Jobs & Opportunity Tour.” And the trip happened to coincide with the release of Chief Executive Magazine’s annual report of the best states to do business in America.
For the ninth year in a row, CEOs picked Texas as the most business-friendly state in the country. The survey takes into account taxation, regulation, quality of the workforce and living environment.
“CEOs are well disposed to Texas, and it’s not hard to understand why,” the magazine explains. “52 Fortune 500 companies now call Texas home. 15 Texas companies went public in 2011, making the state the hottest IPO market in the nation. Austin has become one of the fastest growing tech hub.” It’s no wonder that Texas job creation has outpaced the national average.
Apparently Texas is the place to be. But it’s not because the Lone Star State is asking the wealthy to pay a little more in taxes, or for the people to rely a little more on government expansion. It doesn’t even have a higher minimum wage that will “reignite the true engine of America’s economic growth,” as the president suggested in his remarks.
In fact, CEOs in the survey were happy to point to what Texas and a handful of other states were doing right to attract business. “The regulatory and tax environment in Texas makes it my first pick,” one CEO noted. Another from Wisconsin explained, “Our business environment has improved dramatically with Gov. [Scott] Walker and the Republican legislature. Lower taxes and more incentives for new and relocating business are needed.”
Some CEOs even spoke to the so-called “Texodus”—the flight of businesses and workers from California to Texas. “A number of my friends do business in both California and Texas,” the head of one company noted. “Their experiences are causing them to move as much of their operations to Texas as they can.”
Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s office took the president’s visit as an opportunity to criticize his policies on Twitter saying, “Obama should have focused on jobs and opportunity five years ago.”
Better late than never. But if the president really wants to make up for lost time, he might consider what Texas is doing to grow the economy and be more business friendly. It seems to be working.
This article appeared on the WSJ on Monday May, 13th 2013