Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, the number of Texans seeking food bank assistance has risen 200%. This dramatic increase in food insecurity has caused immeasurable stress and suffering, eroding the health and wellbeing of people across the state. In the midst of this greatly increased need for help, the surplus agricultural products grant, a key aspect of food bank support, has been drastically cut. If this reduction remains in place, the opportunity to acquire almost 20 million pounds of healthy local produce will be lost. Hunger involves quantifiable economic costs in the form of increased health care and social service needs, inferior educational outcomes, and lost productivity. The Perryman Group estimates that cutting the surplus agricultural products grant would cost the state economy hundreds of millions of dollars over time, with economic harms spreading across the entire economy. Because economic activity generates taxes, the cut would also lead to reductions in State and local taxes. State costs for health care and education would also rise due to the effects of hunger.
Texas is one of only 12 states that have not yet chosen to expand health insurance coverage to low-income adults using the financially attractive mechanism created with passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in 2010. In addition to enhancing the health and wellbeing of individuals directly affected, expanding health insurance coverage involves substantial economic and fiscal benefits.
The educational opportunities offered by The University of Texas Permian Basin enhance employment prospects for students and improve the regional workforce and economic development potential. In fulfilling its primary role, UT Permian Basin generates a significant economic stimulus as well as incremental tax receipts. The University provides direct well-paying jobs, engages in major projects, and supports important research. Graduates are essential to the current and future business complex and enhance the competitiveness of the area. These activities contribute to the economy of the local area, region, state, and nation.
Emergency Services Districts (ESDs) are local political subdivisions of the State of Texas that may provide fire, rescue, emergency medical services, and other emergency services. ESDs are designed to ensure adequate and stable funding for local emergency services, and in Texas, there are currently 334 ESDs in 94 counties with new districts formed every year.
The Leahy-Smith America Invents Act (AIA) and the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) are crucial aspects of the US system of intellectual property protection. The AIA and PTAB reduce the need for patent litigation, reducing costs and generating substantial economic benefits. One type of patent which has been protected involves covered business methods (CBM). CBM patents deal with methods or corresponding apparatus for performing data processing or other operations used in the practice, administration, or management of a financial product or service. (Technological inventions are excluded from CBM.)
Texas has been one of the strongest performing states in the US for a number of years, attracting more major corporate locations and expansions than any other and regularly topping lists of the best places to do business. As examples, the state has won the "Governor's Cup" for the most major projects for the past eight consecutive years and was recently named the "State of the Decade" by Site Selection magazine.
Through their joint mission of providing top-quality health care and training for medical professionals, The University of Texas Health Science Center at Tyler (UTHSCT) and UT Health East Texas (UTHET) generate a substantial increase in business activity and benefit the entire region in multiple ways. In addition to providing care for tens of thousands of patients each year, they provide jobs, procure needed goods and services, prepare health professionals (many of whom remain in the area), and conduct meaningful research, resulting in significant economic benefits.
Innovation has long been recognized as the key factor supporting US economic growth and competitiveness. A critical element of the infrastructure facilitating product development and commercialization is the system that protects intellectual property and encourages its widespread adoption and implementation. The current framework that facilitates this process includes the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act (AIA) and the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB). The AIA and PTAB reduce the need for and cost of patent litigation, reducing transaction costs and generating many substantial economic benefits.
Discrimination in employment, housing, and access to public places such as restaurants, hotels, and shops leads not only a loss of dignity and opportunity for those on the receiving end of such treatment, but also involves significant economic costs stemming from both a diminished ability to attract knowledge workers and reduced opportunities for tourism, conventions, and related activity. In the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, these issues become even more important. Competition for quality development will markedly intensify as various states and countries seek to revitalize their economies, and firms employing highly trained workers will expand their emphasis on social governance and community environments. Similarly, as the tourism and hospitality sector seeks to rebound from the massive losses from recent restrictions, the efforts to attract major events and promote local venues will escalate notably. Comprehensive Non-Discrimination Acts (CNDAs) can help reduce discrimination and send a definitive signal that an area will not tolerate such practices in the workplace, public venues, and other settings.
The Permian Basin is among the most important oil-producing regions in the world. Drilling and production and the necessary supporting industries generate business activity not only in the region, but across the state and the nation. In order to be in a position to fully take advantage of future opportunities, it is imperative that the underlying capabilities remain in place - the workforce, the infrastructure, the supply chain, the equipment, and the community support systems. Given the current situation, maintaining this viability requires immediate action from governments at all levels and the private sector.