By Anne Cosgrove
From the May / June 2023 Issue
From a skilled, growing workforce to low taxes and competitive incentives, everything is bigger and better in Texas. From a civilian workforce of more than 14 million, to unrivaled investment in accessible infrastructure, to one of the nation’s largest deal-closing funds — Texas is proud to offer the most advantageous business climate for expanding and relocating companies. It’s why Toyota and Charles Schwab have moved their corporate headquarters from California to Texas; Apple has broken ground on a new Austin campus that will initially house 5,000 employees with the ability to grow to 15,000; Tesla relocated its headquarters to Texas, and SpaceX has continued to invest throughout the state in office, development, and space launch facilities.
Texas offers businesses the freedom to be successful and for their employees to be successful. Texas has no personal or corporate state income tax and a reasonable regulatory climate. When combined with steady employment and income growth, forecasters rank Texas first in the nation for five-year growth projections.
Hewlett Packard moved its headquarters from San Jose to Houston. Oracle relocated its headquarters from Redwood City to Austin. Amazon chose Houston as one of its coveted “tech hubs.” Elon Musk moved from California to be closer to his Austin Tesla southwest Gigafactory and relocated Tesla headquarters to Texas.
Business Facilities recently spoke with Texas Governor Greg Abbott about the latest for business and what he sees for the state going forward.
BF: How would you describe the business climate in Texas today. What is driving its success?
“Robust economic development is the focus of our 88th legislative agenda.”
— Governor Greg Abbott
Governor Abbott: Ever since brave pioneers first settled Texas, our great state has offered the freedom and opportunity to succeed that cannot be found elsewhere. Today, Texas is home to the best business climate in the nation, that’s why our economy is booming. Since I’ve been Governor, we’ve been the Best State for Business every year. With our young, highly skilled and diverse workforce, easy access to global markets, robust infrastructure, the lowest business operating cost in the nation, predictable regulations, and no corporate income tax, or personal income tax, Texas is where business goes to flourish.
Those unmatched advantages are why “Made in Texas” is such a powerful global brand and why Texas leads the nation in corporate relocations and expansion projects. Last year, more than $44.7 billion in new capital expenditures and more than 35,300 new jobs were announced across state. Not to mention, 280 new corporate headquarters have relocated to Texas since 2015 — with more to come.
Perhaps most importantly, Texas offers businesses the freedom to grow. Because when businesses succeed, Texans succeed.
BF: With the 88th Legislature in session, what is a primary aim for your office for economic development?
Governor Abbott: Our goal this legislative session is to ensure Texas remains the land of freedom and opportunity and the best state to live, work, and raise a family, that’s why I have made a robust economic development agenda the focus of our 88th Legislative Session.
To ensure that Texans are not overburdened by property taxes, I intend to sign the largest property tax cut in our state’s history at the end of this session. This will free up more money for Texans to inject back into our state’s economy. We’re also working together to roll back unnecessary regulations, invest in infrastructure upgrades, and bolster workforce development programs so that businesses large and small can continue to thrive in Texas’ booming economy.
It’s also critical that we develop strategic economic development tools to continue creating high-quality jobs in the industries that are essential for the future of our state and our nation. One of those essential industries is semiconductor manufacturing. I have worked with the Texas Legislature to ensure we have the necessary tools to take advantage of the new U.S. CHIPS Act, attracting more semiconductor manufacturing to Texas.
In March, I announced my support for the Texas CHIPS Act proposed by Texas House Appropriations Chair Dr. Greg Bonnen and Texas Senate Finance Committee Chair Joan Huffman. The Texas CHIPS Act would leverage Texas’ investments in the semiconductor industry, encourage more semiconductor-related companies to expand in the state, and utilize the expertise and capacity at Texas higher education institutions. Already number one in the nation for semiconductor manufacturing capacity, the Texas CHIPS Act would help Texas lead the way in increasing domestic semiconductor production, reduce reliance on foreign supply chains, and protect our nation’s security.
BF: Texas’ Chapter 313 program for economic development is now expired. What do you envision a replacement would look like?
Governor Abbott: This session, it’s clear that local communities need new economic development tools in their toolbox for attracting corporate investment to the state. Although Texas is well-known for attracting large job-creating projects, we must not become complacent.
Within my Economic Development & Tourism Office, there are several programs that focus on attracting new jobs, capital investment, and visitors to Texas. These initiatives, together with other state, local, and regional economic development programs, make up a robust incentives portfolio that has helped uphold Texas’ excellence in economic development.
As we invest in Texas’ future, it’s important to stay competitive in attracting the jobs of tomorrow and bringing the most innovative companies to our state. Particularly in critical industries such as advanced manufacturing, energy, life sciences, and aerospace and aviation, incentive tools can help Texas be more competitive in attracting high job creating and capital-intensive projects.
BF: Would you like to highlight an item passed in the 87th legislative session that has impacted the business climate to date?
Governor Abbott: As the ninth-largest economy in the world and home to more Fortune 500 headquarters than any other state, Texas is an economic and innovation powerhouse, offering unmatched opportunities for businesses to grow and succeed. Texas continues to lead as the top state for population growth, job creation, and attracting job-creating capital investments, thanks to our unwavering commitment to economic freedom and our young, skilled, diverse, and growing workforce.
Working together with partners in the Texas House and Senate in the previous legislative session, we further unleashed our state’s economic might. We achieved that by balancing the budget while funding critical priorities and delivering property tax relief, providing regulatory relief, and investing in education and workforce development to ensure a continuing pipeline of skilled Texans for Texas jobs.
BF: Is there anything else you’d like site selectors to know about Texas?
Governor Abbott: When making an investment decision, I’ve heard time and time again from CEOs and business leaders that Texas was the clear choice. One executive even said their only regret is that they didn’t get to Texas sooner. From Fortune 500 firms to small businesses, and everything in between, Texas offers the right talent for businesses to grow and a superior business climate for companies across all industries to thrive. From aerospace, aviation, and defense, to technology, corporate operations, finance, and beyond, more and more companies are finding that Texas is the best place in America to do business.