Good jobs and economic growth are essential to the fiscal health of Texas. For years the Lone Star State has been an unprecedented success story, outpacing other states in economic activity, job creation and expansion and a positive business climate. Susan Combs wants to ensure this trend continues.
As Comptroller, Susan watches over the economic indicators that present a true and current picture of the state's fiscal health, and she has pioneered initiatives designed to stimulate local economies and improve the business and job outlook of Texas
During her first year in office Susan created the Local Government Assistance & Economic Development Division to provide more direct, hands on services and technical assistance on a broader, regional basis to elected officials and local governments. The division's team of analysts can provide information on a wide variety of issues related to state law and financial management, including accounting, purchasing procedures and government resources. The division is committed to helping local officials boost economic development opportunities.
In 2008 Susan launched Texas Ahead, a one-stop online portal of Texas data and information for economic development. The website not only contains valuable information for local governments and economic development entities, but also has information on educating tomorrow's workforce and success stories from Texas communities that have created jobs and harnessed economic opportunities.
A valuable component of Texas Ahead is the Texas EDGE (which stands for Economic Data for Growth and Expansion) data center with key economic information available online. Texas EDGE can create customized economic reports designed for specific economic development decisions and opportunities. Since it began, Texas EDGE has completed almost 500 requests.
Susan also has released several reports on statewide trends and their impact on economic and workforce development including:
* Texas in Focus: A Statewide View of Opportunities to look at issues affecting economic growth across the state. As part of this effort, Susan is publishing reports on the state's 12 economic regions, examining demographics, infrastructure, education, health care and specific issues affecting business and community development;
* Texas State Parks: Natural Economic Assets, a report highlighting the economic benefits of state parks, which add almost $16 million to the gross state product from out-of-state visitors;
* The Current and Potential Economic and Fiscal Impacts of Texas' Moving Media Industry, an evaluation of the entertainment industry in Texas with an emphasis on TV and film production, including revenue the film industry generates, its anticipated growth and what Texas needs to do to attract filmmakers;
* Liquid Assets: The State of Texas' Water Resources, a report examining the state's current and future water resources and needs essential to protect the health of Texas citizens and the strength of the state economy; and
* Texas Works, a look at the changing job market in Texas, the growing shortage of skilled workers and educational and training options to ensure future Texans have the skills to meet future work challenges.
By analyzing trends, energy, available water resources and a multitude of other issues, Susan is making sure local governments and economic development groups have the necessary information and resources available to spur business activity and job growth.
Susan also has launched a website to provide Texas businesses and government leaders information on the state's share of the federal stimulus dollars. Tracking the Texas Stimulus, is a convenient, online resource for groups, individuals and businesses that need information on grants and other funding sources available through the stimulus package. The website has contacts for businesses and organizations wanting to work on federal projects.
Texas is a remarkable success story still in the making. Despite an international economic slowdown, the Texas economy remains the 12th-largest in the entire world, and for the past five years, the state has led the nation in job growth, adding more than 1 million new jobs. By helping local leaders identify and promote economic development opportunities, Susan is fostering homegrown job growth across the Lone Star State and promoting the "can do" spirit and determination to keep Texas a leader in the global economy.