On the front page of the Wall Street Journal, there is a good article outlining Texas’ job creation success from a robust economy and potential challenges regarding transportation and water.
As evidence of this economic success-built on the Texas model of creating an economic environment that encourages hard work, job creation, and entrepreneurship-the WSJ notes that five of the top ten fastest growing cities are in the Lone Star State.
The following excerpts from the article give you a flavor of the successes and challenges facing Texas:
- Aided by the promise of plentiful employment and a low cost of living, Texas added 1.3 million people from 2010 to 2013, more than any other state, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. The Lone Star State’s population has pushed past 26 million and is projected to reach 40 million by 2050.
- Texans paid 7.5% of their income in state and local taxes in 2011, compared with 11.4% in California and 9.2% in Florida, according to the most recent data from the Tax Foundation, a research organization.
- Many states were hit hard by the recession, but the Texas economy barely contracted. It shrunk by 0.5% in 2009, the state’s economic trough, and expanded by 4.1% in 2010, according to data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis. From 2010 through 2012, it grew faster than that of any other state except for North Dakota, which is bustling thanks to an oil boom.
- The state added 310,000 jobs in the 12 months ending in March and boasts an unemployment rate of 5.5%, well below the national rate of 6.7%. Nor have they slowed the tide of out-of-staters moving in, especially from California. Roughly a quarter of the people who migrated to Texas from elsewhere in the country between 2006 and 2012 were leaving the Golden State, according to a report by the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas.
- The growing population is taxing the infrastructure. The Texas Department of Transportation estimates that it receives $5 billion less a year from the state than it needs to meet current demands for road construction and repairs. The state’s 2012 water plan estimated regional and local entities would need $53 billion to meet additional water infrastructure needs by 2060. Roughly two-thirds of the state is currently in drought.
- The state’s six biggest cities, including Austin and Houston, owed more than $39 billion in debt in 2012, an amount that had grown by 46% since 2003 to pay for roads, water systems, schools and other services, according to a report last year by the Texas Bond Review Board, a state agency that monitors debt financing.