Gov. Perry's Remarks to the Greater Dallas Asian American Chamber of Commerce
*Note - Gov. Perry frequently departs from prepared remarks.
Thank you, Rep. Angie [Chen Button] and congratulations on completing your first successful legislative session.
Angie enjoyed her work in the legislature so much she convinced me to call a special session just so she could come back to the capitol.
Actually, Angie and her fellow legislators took part in what I believe history will recognize as one of the most successful sessions ever, in terms of focusing on the essentials, and keeping Texas moving forward.
I don't know how closely you follow the ins and outs of the legislature, but you should be proud of the job your folks did this last go-round.
Without a whole lot of fanfare, your elected representatives helped keep Texas on track by following the same kind of principles that guide your business.
They kept a lid on spending, invested in education, and stayed focused on key goals like job creation.
A lot of my fellow governors would probably trade just about anything for our balanced budget, our increased funding for education, and a Rainy Day Fund that is projected to grow to $9 billion by 2011.
I have to admit it's a good feeling to do some tax cutting when many states are struggling to find a way to make ends meet.
I don't take any pleasure in struggles that other states are having, but I won't hesitate to lure businesses away from them, in our increasingly competitive national economy.
Our state's current degree of economic strength is a product of the fiscally conservative approaches we've taken over the years.
When some other states are using IOUs to pay bills, putting employees on furlough, and contemplating the sale of state property, we managed to extend a tax cut for small businesses, the folks who really create jobs in our economy.
In a group of business leaders like this one, I'm guessing some of you might even own one of the 40,000 Texas small businesses that won't have to pay the business tax, since we raised the annual exemption to $1 million.
Earlier today, here in Dallas, I had the pleasure of signing House
Bill 3, a measure that continues our efforts to improve the quality of public education here in our state.
As business leaders, you know just how important an educated workforce is in your efforts to compete in the global marketplace.
HB3 ratchets up the accountability in our school system, raises the bar for our students, strengthens our emphasis on key subjects like math and science, and increases transparency on how school districts spend your tax dollars.
We want our students to graduate high school career- and college-ready because any lower goal is unworthy of our state.
We also want to dial back the dollars that schools and employers have to spend helping students catch up to where they should already be.
We want our workforce to continue complementing our robust business climate so that entrepreneurs will continue seek out Texas as the place to pursue their dreams.
Thanks to years of tough decision making and a willingness to swim against national trends, Texas is already a hot spot of economic activity, because of our low taxes, predictable regulations and a legal system we fixed to cut down on frivolous lawsuits.
I firmly believe that smaller government is better for everyone involved. Given a choice between taking one of your dollars, or letting you keep it to create another job, I'll always choose the latter.
I appreciate your support over the years on our efforts to make Texas more job-friendly than any other state in the Union.
Creating jobs is something that Texas does better than just about every other state.
Did you know that only ten states had job growth last year?
Did you know that nearly 60% of new American jobs were created in Texas in 08?
I don't know about you, but I think that's a big deal. I'm proud that we picked up more than 93,000 jobs in that timeframe.
It speaks well of our state that our unemployment percentage is a full two points lower than the national average, but we can never lose sight of the fact that our state's figure is not just a number, it reflects Texas families who are in a bad spot, uncertain about their future.
The way I see it, until every Texan who wants a job has a job, our work will not be done.
That is why I am keeping the volume turned up while I sing the praises of the Lone Star State.
You probably have friends in other states whose companies are being squeezed by their government's tendency to raise taxes in the face of budgetary challenges.
As they see more and more of their resources confiscated, their regulatory burdens increased, and their livelihood threatened by the prospect of unlimited frivolous lawsuits, these companies are finding Texas more and more attractive.
We already lead the nation in exports, job creation and Fortune 500 companies. I'm excited to improve on that in the months to come.
Just this year, we have seen Caterpillar begin consolidating their worldwide engine manufacture and testing operations in Texas, bringing more than 1,700 jobs to Seguin.
We're also welcoming a key division of Medtronic from California.
They're moving nearly 1,400 jobs to San Antonio, where they'll work on manufacturing an artificial pancreas.
Later this week, I'll have the pleasure of officially announcing another company's migration into the Houston area, that will bring another 1,000-plus jobs to Texas.
These are big wins for Texas and we have every reason to believe that we will see more of them, but we all have a part to play in that process.
Companies don't just come to Texas because they like to watch football and eat barbecue.
Sure, they're attracted by our low taxes and predictable regulations, but they also listen to folks like you who work so hard to get them here.
The Greater Dallas Asian American Chamber has played an essential role in strengthening the business climate here in North Texas.
For more than 20 years, you have worked to cultivate a cooperative environment of economic success, celebrated your shared culture, and invested in your fellow entrepreneurs.
I am especially impressed at your commitment to developing the next generation of leaders through "Leadership Tomorrow", showing that the greatest strength we can display is not with a closed fist, but an open hand of encouragement and support.
You have shown that a community of like-minded individuals, working for the common good, is much more powerful than a centralized government, that enacts mandates with one hand, and offers handouts with the other.
Congratulations for your achievements, thank you for working toward a better economy, and bless you for helping others.
May God bless you and, through you, may He continue to bless the great state of Texas.