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Willisms

« August 2011 | WILLisms.com | November 2011 »

Texas: Jobs Hot Spot.

Trivia Tidbit of the Day: Part 943 -- Texas Owns It On Jobs-

Over at newgeography, there's a very cool interactive map showing job gains and losses by county, across various economic sectors.

Texas is undeniably a hot spot for jobs over the past five years:

texasownsit.gif

Western North Dakota and Eastern Wyoming (plus some of Utah, and a handful of other hot spots) have seen an oil and gas shale boom, but Texas' job growth has been more broad-based:

The Texas skeptics often invoke high energy prices, as if Texas were some sheikdom next to Mexico. But according to the Dallas Fed study, energy jobs accounted for only 10.6% of the new positions. The state economy today is far more broadly based than it was before the early-1980s oil-and-gas bust. For the last nine years, Texas has led the states in exports.

To put a finer point on it, the energy industry isn't expanding merely because of rising oil prices or new natural resources. Technological innovation is also driving the business, such as the horizontal drilling that has enabled shale oil and gas fracking. New ideas are how an economy expands.

Nearly 31% of the new Texas jobs are in health care, many of which are no doubt the product of federal entitlements that go to every state. But the state is also making progress filling in historical access gaps in west and south Texas and the panhandle, where Mr. Perry's 2003 malpractice caps have led to an influx of doctors, especially high-risk specialists. The Texas Public Policy Foundation estimates that the state has netted 26,000 new physicians in the wake of reform, most from out of state.

So, nationally, jobs are only really being created in the energy sector, it seems, yet just about one-tenth of the new jobs in Texas are oil and gas jobs. The job creation in Texas has been incredibly broad-based and centered around the private-sector. Indeed, there are fewer government jobs per capita in Texas now than when Rick Perry took office ten years ago.

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Previous Trivia Tidbit: Texas Under Rick Perry Versus Massachusetts Under Mitt Romney.

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Posted by Will Franklin · 29 September 2011 03:23 PM · Comments (0)

Texas Under Rick Perry Versus Massachusetts Under Mitt Romney.

Trivia Tidbit of the Day: Part 942 -- Rick Perry's Texas Versus Romney's Massachusetts-

Mitt Romney really needs to shut his yapper on the issue of jobs. Here's why:

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AND
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The fact is that Rick Perry’s Texas created more private sector jobs in the past two months than Mitt Romney’s Massachusetts did during his entire four years as governor.
stats.png

With this lousy jobs record and new confirmation of RomneyCare serving as the blueprint for ObamaCare, Romney's just not the guy to take on Obama in 2012.

Go with Rick Perry:

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Previous Trivia Tidbit: Texas Debt Versus U.S. Debt.

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Posted by Will Franklin · 22 September 2011 05:50 AM · Comments (0)

Texas Debt Versus U.S. Debt.

Trivia Tidbit of the Day: Part 941 -- Texas Debt Versus U.S. Debt-

Disingenuous attacks on the Texas success story abound these days from every which direction. One of these attacks is that the Texas debt situation is somehow terrible. I've written on how Texas' debt per capita is among the lowest in the nation here, here, and here, but there is a misleading line of attack that keeps popping up about how Texas' debt has doubled under Perry and is therefore worse than the national debt situation.

Here are some facts:

Per capita state government debt in Texas ranks 2nd best in the nation (an improvement from 6th best when Governor Perry took over).

Interest on Texas' debt as a percentage of its direct spending ranks as the third lowest in the nation.

Taking the $37.71 billion in Texas debt and dividing it by the Texas Gross State Product of $1.332 trillion, Texas' debt as a percentage of the annual Texas economy is only 2.83%, while the nation's debt is just below 100% of the nation's annual economy. Some sources actually peg the Texas figure at 1.05%, and the debt to personal income ratio at 1.4%.

Meanwhile, the national debt has grown and is growing at a frightening clip.

From the authoritative source on Texas debt, the Texas Bond Review Board:

Texas had a total of $37.71 billion in state debt outstanding. Texas' general obligation debt is split rated at Aaa/AA+/AAA by the three credit rating agencies, Moody's Investors Service, Standard & Poor's and Fitch Ratings.

Interestingly, if you compare some of the debt figures in Texas to the seven AAA rated states, Texas seems to beat those states pretty easily:

bondratingtexas.gif

Compared to the seven “AAA” rated states, Texas’ net tax-supported debt per capita and net tax-supported debt as a percentage of personal income are the lowest.

While Moody's and Fitch both give Texas an AAA rating, one explanation about S&P's rating I've heard from smart people who follow this stuff closely is that Texas actually didn't have enough of a history of having and thus paying back debt to warrant more than a AA rating from S&P until recently, when S&P upgraded Texas to AA+ status.

Moreover, as I've noted before, the vast majority of debt in Texas is voter-approved.

The attacks just keep coming, though. Indeed, others have incorrectly suggested that Texas is actively going deeper ("AS WE SPEAK!!! OMG!!!") into debt because of some routine cash-flow management tools that have been in practice for nearly a quarter of a century:

The state’s recent sale of Tax and Revenue Anticipation Notes (TRANs) is a cash-flow management tool that dates back to 1987. These notes are sold every fiscal year to manage cash flow and to provide up-front payments to public schools. They are repaid within the fiscal year with tax revenue that comes in after the upfront school payments are made. Texas earned the highest possible ratings in anticipation of this offering, receiving a rating of SP-1+ by Standard & Poor’s, MIG 1 by Moody’s Investors Service and F1+ by Fitch Inc. Texas’ net interest rate of .27 percent is down from last year’s rate of .34 percent, representing the state’s lowest net rate ever for these notes.

Yeah. That looks really troubling. The lowest rates ever. The second lowest debt per capita in America. Upgraded credit ratings for the state government. Oh dear!

Under some rankings, Texas is around 9th or 10th best in the country, while in other rankings, it is in the 4th or 5th range, while in still others, it is in the top 2 or 3 range.

The Texas debt situation is unequivocally a winning contrast for Rick Perry against President "Downgrade" Obama.

Context matters. Texas' state government debt situation is among the best in the country, almost no matter which way you slice it. The national debt crisis, meanwhile, threatens the very fabric of our society and undermines the future of this nation. It's one thing for liberals to disingenuously attack the Texas model, as that is what they do, but it is beyond the pale for so-called conservatives, using misleading or out-of-context stats, to attack the prime example of conservative governance and success in the nation.

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vs.
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Previous Trivia Tidbit: Texas Forest Service Budget As High As It Has Ever Been..

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Posted by Will Franklin · 21 September 2011 07:07 AM · Comments (0)

Texas Forest Service Budget As High As It Has Ever Been.

Trivia Tidbit of the Day: Part 940 -- Texas Did Not Slash Firefighting Capabilities-

There's plenty of (almost joyful, schadenfreude-inspired) chatter out there on the left, relishing the wildfires in Texas. One of the arguments liberals are making right now is that Texas "slashed" its wildfire fighting budget. So, is that so?

No:

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The Volunteer Firefighter Assistance Account appropriation for the 2012-13 biennium is comparable to amounts included in previous budgets signed by Gov. Perry. A one-time increase in funding for the 2010-11 biennium included funding for recommended capital costs like new equipment. Included below are the appropriations amounts for the Texas Forest Service for each budget signed by Gov. Perry. The Volunteer Firefighter Service Account is included in the total Texas Forest Service appropriation.

The Texas legislature traditionally makes supplemental appropriations to provide additional funding to cover unexpected costs related to disasters, including wildfires. This year, the legislature approved $121 million in supplemental spending of this sort. The threat of unpredictable natural disasters including as wildfires is precisely why Gov. Perry insisted that Texas’ 2012-13 budget not include any spending from the state’s Rainy Day Fund, which currently has an estimated balance of $6.5 billion.

Texas Forest Service appropriations

Biennium Total (in millions)

2002 – 2003 $43.5

2004 – 2005 $70.6

2006 – 2007 $72.4

2008 – 2009 $75.2

2010 – 2011 $109.2

2012 – 2013 $75.4

This bunk about wildfires and "slashed" budgets reminds me a lot of the other bogus, misleading, and ignorant reporting about the Texas budget, usually by non-Texans, over the past several months.

Texas didn't "slash" anything. If anything, the state firefighting budget is as high as it has ever been, and the Texas Forest Service is as well-equipped and well-prepared as it has ever been, with more recently-trained volunteer firefighters than ever before. There was a one-time surge in Texas Forest Service spending for equipment, from 2009 stimulus dollars, into the 2010-2011 biennial budget. That temporary surge was never intended to be a new baseline. It was for one-time capital expenditures.

You wonder why there's a spending problem in Washington? This mentality of never, ever being able to return to the normal baseline of spending after a supposedly temporary injection of stimulus is a perfect example of why budgets are out of control in Washington and balanced in Texas.

UPDATE:
And here's a video version of this graphic:

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Previous Trivia Tidbit: Shattering Texas Education Myths.

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Posted by Will Franklin · 7 September 2011 06:13 PM · Comments (7)