GUEST VIEW: Why Texas works: 29 million reasons and growing

By Gov. Greg Abbott

When choosing Penwell just west of Odessa as the future location of the first U.S. manufacturing facility to produce gasoline from natural gas, captured bio-methane, and mitigated flare gas, Houston-based Nacero Inc. already understood the competitive business advantages found only in Texas. And they are in good company.

Texas has earned the Best State for Business title for a record 17 years in a row. The nation’s leading CEOs cite our pro-growth economic policies—with no corporate income tax and no personal income tax—along with our young, growing, and diverse workforce, easy access to global markets, robust infrastructure, and predictable regulations.

It’s no surprise then that four Texas cities are among the nation’s top 10 best cities to start a business.

The business advantages found only in Texas grow more than the bottom line. When freed from the stranglehold of over taxation and runaway regulation, new ideas flourish here.

As I talk to innovative job creators each week, they point to that freedom and our welcoming business climate as the Texas advantages that allow their companies to grow and their employees to succeed, to afford a home, and to enjoy a high quality of life.

Those unmatched advantages are why “Made in Texas” is such a powerful global brand. Texas is the top exporting state, now for 19 years in row, and the top tech exporting state, now for eight years in a row—beating second-place California in both.

Those unique Texas advantages are why the Lone Star State also leads the nation in attracting capital investments and relocation and expansion projects, including 212 new corporate headquarters since 2015, with more announced this year than any other year—and more yet to come.

And those advantages are the reasons why Texas is growing while states like California, New York, and Illinois lost population last year. People vote with their feet, and Texas is the top vote getter when it comes to business.

Now at 29 million Texans and counting, almost half of our population growth is newly born Texans. They represent a continuing strong workforce, as Texas is by far the stickiest state: More than 8 in 10 born in Texas stay in Texas.

Businesses are drawn to this growing and skilled talent pool across Texas, including the largest concentration of petrochemical workers in the world. Construction of the Penwell facility will employ a peak of 3,500 skilled workers during the four years of phase one construction. When fully operational, the plant will then employ 350 full-time operators and maintenance personnel in three shifts.

In addition to this workforce pipeline, Texas offers unique logistic advantages with our central location and easy access to global markets and trade and supply chain routes via air, land, and sea. And as the energy capitol of the world, the state’s geography and natural resources, transportation infrastructure, and environmental research capabilities attract major operations for global energy leaders, including the headquarters for ExxonMobil and BP’s largest employee base in the world.

Finally, from Odessa and Midland to El Paso and beyond, West Texas offers expansive room for businesses of all sizes to grow—and succeed.

In fact, across every region of Texas, innovative startups are growing alongside the world’s biggest brands, including nearly 50 Fortune 500 corporate headquarters.

We are seeing increasing business investments in our urban centers as well as our smaller communities. And our local, regional, and statewide economic development teams continue to partner together to develop existing local business, attract new business, and retain the talent that fuels continuing economic expansion.

There are more than 29 million reasons why Texas works. And one Texas advantage tops them all: We want businesses to succeed in Texas, because when businesses succeed, all Texans succeed.