As the newest addition at the Texas Public Policy Foundation, I have the dubious honor of being the “rookie” on the team. Thankfully, the intra-office hazing hasn’t been nearly as bad as I’d imagined. And despite being a recent college graduate saddled with enough student loan debt to make a small child weep, I’m ecstatic to start a new career with an organization second to none.

Fortunately, the excitement of beginning a new career isn’t lost on me alone. The January 2008 job data indicates the addition of more than 28,000 new jobs in Texas. In fact, Texas leads the nation in job creation and Texas’ unemployment rate shows a year-over-year drop.

The Texas economy remains strong despite the national slowdown, and recent actions taken by Gov. Rick Perry serve as a reminder why Texas has become America’s economic engine.

Last Friday’s Wall Street Journal heralded Gov. Perry’s decision to cut unemployment taxes. Discontinuing the unemployment insurance “replenishment” tax will save businesses $260 million through the rest of the year. Since the unemployment trust fund is in terrific shape, Gov. Perry’s decision to suspend the tax and return unnecessary surpluses will undoubtedly stimulate further economic expansion.

Pro-growth policies, such as this, not only make Texas an especially attractive place to live, work, and do business; they also create an economic environment where even a recent graduate is fortunate enough to be welcomed into the “real world”.

– James Quintero