Homestate Glory

Texas takes another top business honor, but national mag wonders if the focus makes education suffer

Texas takes another top business honor, but national mag wonders if the focus makes education suffer

Houston, downtown, skyline, buildings
Courtesy of Greater Houston Convention and Visitors Bureau
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Houston, downtown, skyline, buildings

Texas has been named — again and again, almost ad nauseam — a great state for doing business. 

And our business savvy has been reconfirmed yet again in Forbes Magazine's 2012 list of "The Best States for Business," which looked at six vital business factors including costs (of labor, energy and taxes), labor supply, regulatory environment, current economic climate, growth prospects and quality of life. 

The Lone Star State ranks seventh on this new list (Utah took No. 1, followed by Virginia, North Dakota, North Carolina, Colorado and Nebraska), owing to its appeal as the second best business economy in the United States, with a Gross State Product of $1.3 trillion and high rankings for economic climate and growth prospects. 

 So we know business — but at what cost? 

But there is a darker side to this pro-business climate: As the article notes, "The only thing holding back Texas is the education of its labor supply. Only 80 percent of adults have a high school degree, which is the lowest among any state." 

Although our graduation numbers are reportedly looking up, Texas spends at least $19.1 billion per year on incentive programs (easily the highest in the nation), much of which benefits corporations through tax exemptions and credits, while the state budget gets tighter and tighter. 

Education seems to suffer most, facing a $5.4 billion cut in the last legislative session. So we know business — but at what cost?