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.
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.
The issues surrounding immigration are complicated (particularly in the case of the undocumented segment), but there is one incontrovertible fact: Texas needs the workers!
No modern economy can prosper without a strong system of courts to protect public safety, secure property rights, enforce contracts, and resolve disputes. In fact, an effective judiciary lies at the heart of the very foundations of Western civilization. Even so, many states and locales face poorly funded courts, while the Federal courts have been hampered in recent years both by the inability of Congress to fill vacancies in a timely manner and by the failure to expand the number of judgeships as economic and demographic growth demand. There is perhaps no place where this situation is more acute than the Eastern District of Texas.
In 2015, The Perryman Group prepared a study to assist the efforts to reform the windstorm insurance system which focused on the possibilities of major storms along the Gulf Coast. While the analysis obviously does not reflect the unique and unprecedented effects of Hurricane Harvey, it does provide some useful insights. Given the significance of this historic storm and its role in the economy in the coming months, we wanted to share these insights.
The recent extreme winter weather is unprecedented in Texas. Records were shattered, and the demands on the power grid were exceptional. When brutal conditions took down about 40% of generation capacity (wind turbines and conventional plants alike), disaster struck. Most people had to deal with power outages (sometimes for days in freezing temperatures) and millions had no water (again for an extended period).
The most recent employment data indicates that the pace of hiring in Texas has slowed. In September, 40,700 net new jobs were added, compared to 111,900 in August. Moreover, the unemployment rate rose and is now higher than the national level. While this slowing is not good news, it was not unexpected.
Category 4 Hurricane Laura made landfall just after midnight on August 27, 2020 in Cameron Parish, Louisiana, about 35 miles east of the Texas border. While the damage was significant, the economic costs could have been far worse. The Perryman Group estimates that if the storm had made landfall as a direct hit on one of the nearby refining and petrochemical areas (such as Beaumont), the economic losses could have been 8 to 10 times as large as preliminary damage estimates have indicated.