Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Revitalizing Texas’s Economy: Creating Jobs and Providing Opportunities in Low-Income and Minority Areas


CONTACT: Kelly Love Johnson
(512) 771-8737

Revitalizing Texas’s Economy: Creating Jobs and Providing Opportunities in Low-Income and Minority Areas
Democratic Candidate for Governor Farouk Shami Releases his Policy on the Economy at Press Breakfast in Dallas

DALLAS/FORT WORTH—During a press breakfast on Tuesday, January 26, Farouk Shami discussed his policy to create new jobs for Texans and provide opportunities in low-income and minority areas of the state.

The economy of Texas is the second largest in the US and would be the 15th largest in the world if it were its own country. Our economic growth and opportunity has caused corporations and individuals from around the country to move to Texas. Yet, this growth has been somewhat uneven and has left behind entire regions and populations throughout our state. We must continue to foster economic growth, while paying special attention to ethnic groups and regions left behind by nearly two decades of Republican rule in Texas.

“All Texans have a right to have access to the American Dream,” said Shami. “We cannot continue to leave entire communities behind. My plan gives corporations incentives to place businesses that pay a living wage in areas where the jobs and money are needed most.”

Shami’s plan (see below for full details), includes: building small business incubators, creating green energy jobs, promoting border industry clusters, modernizing core infrastructure, creating high-paying jobs in disadvantaged areas, and tax incentive changes for employers considering relocating to those areas.

“I am pleased to announce my plan to bring a better future for Texas and to lead the way with jobs for a new economy,” said Shami.


Farouk Shami’s Plan for the Texas Economy

• Build Small Business Incubators

Farouk came to this country with very little money, yet he had something far more important: a dream—and the drive to achieve it. Entrepreneurs and small business owners are the backbone of the Texas economy and both embody the American dream and enable others to enjoy it as well. The state of Texas can help these people achieve success with both seed capital and educational business resources. We need to utilize the Texas Enterprise Fund (EF) to provide small grants to businesses employing 25 or fewer people that have a strong business plan and will be able to grow with the added capital, in addition to using the fund to close deals with large corporations. Furthermore, we ought to create partnerships with these businesses and public universities so business school faculty and students are available to help these entrepreneurs bring their dreams to reality.

• Create Green Energy Jobs

Texas has always been the energy capital of the United States. We can now utilize that background to become the green energy capital of the United States, taking advantage of the abundant wind and sunlight in the western part of the state. We have already taken the first steps in building wind farms in west Texas, and we should rapidly expedite their building. Furthermore, since wind tends to blow hardest at night, we can utilize the same transmission lines to bring solar power back during the day. The jobs created in initially setting up these facilities and continuing to maintain them will provide a powerful stimulus to the overall economy of Texas.

In addition, Farouk’s plan to insure that every Texas household has access to in-home solar panel systems to help cut down on electricity costs will also create a tremendous number of new, green-collar jobs.

• Promote Border Industry Clusters

Our border with Mexico represents a very important economic strength. We can help this area continue to grow by working with local officials along the border and their counterparts in Mexico and to create industry clusters along the border. This means we would build high-skill, capital-intensive operations on this side of the border that utilizes low-skill, affordable labor across the border.

• Modernize Core Infrastructure

One of the first things corporations look at when deciding whether to relocate is whether they will have access to transportation, energy, water and broadband lines that will fulfill their needs today and into the future. We can put Texans to work today to build new roads, ensure all communities have access to broadband internet access, expand the capacity of our electric grid, and ensure we have additional water resources to meet any projected future demand. This investment in tomorrow will yield real benefits well into the future by showing corporations that they will never face the problems currently experienced by companies in California.

• Create High Paying Jobs in Disadvantaged Areas

Economic growth for too long has been focused in the same affluent areas of our state’s major cities. We can counter this by offering corporations additional tax credits to move to areas that are economically disadvantaged, using an escalating scale to ensure the biggest credits go to those moving to the areas with greatest economic hardships. We can stipulate that these businesses must pay an average wage of at least $10 an hour living wage to ensure the jobs coming into these communities are real jobs that can help lift the area out of poverty.

  • Tax Incentive Changes

Farouk proposes to eliminate the ability of counties and municipalities to give tax incentives to employers looking to locate to the area. The problem with these schemes is that they end up producing few good jobs while providing a massive benefit to the company looking to locate in the area. Further, it adversely impacts existing taxpayers and businesses by burdening them with the increased taxes that result from infrastructure improvements needed for a new employer.

The key is to centralize at the state level and in exchange provide the local government with a payment from the state equal to the difference between what the business would actually pay without the incentive and what the business is actually paying under their incentive plan. This is the only way to stop the race to the bottom competition between local governments for new businesses and expanding businesses.

The money from this will come from the EF and increased sales tax revenues. Further, with the state managing the incentives, they will inevitably be smaller than what local governments are handing out now.

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