Lines Blur as Texas Gives Industries a Bonanza

The New York Times has the article Lines Blur as Texas Gives Industries a Bonanza.

Mr. Ryan’s specialty is helping clients like ExxonMobil and Neiman Marcus secure state and local tax breaks and other business incentives. It is a good line of work in Texas.

Under Mr. Perry, Texas gives out more of the incentives than any other state, around $19 billion a year, an examination by The New York Times has found. Texas justifies its largess by pointing out that it is home to half of all the private sector jobs created over the last decade nationwide. As the invitation to the fund-raiser boasted: “Texas leads the nation in job creation.”

The rest of the article talks about the pros and cons of these tax breaks. I don’t doubt that each reader of the article will see the moral of the story to be whatever fits best with their political outlook.

It is kind of ironic to pit the facts presented here with the Republican mantra that the government should not pick business winners and losers. I suppose the answer is that the Texas government does not care if the companies they pick are winners or losers as long as they provide the promised jobs. You’ll have to read the whole article to decide for yourself what you think about the situation.

From personal experience of having lived in Texas for 4½ years, I have my own opinion of low wages and high living standards for engineers.  My wages were enough to have a decent living standard in Texas, but they were falling behind national wage levels.  I felt that if I stayed in Texas much longer, I would be financially trapped by my inability to afford to live anyplace else.  Sharon and I are both glad we got out when we could.

I actually faced a similar situation in Oregon, also a low cost-of-living, low-wage state.  Had it not been for the real-estate boom in Oregon which doubled the value of our house while we were there, we might have been trapped in Oregon after retirement.  Unlike Texas, Oregon is actually a very nice place to live, but it was not near family, so it is not where we wanted to retire.

The bursting of the real-estate bubble before we moved back to Massachusetts is what made it possible to return to the high-cost of living state even in retirement where my income is not affected by where I live.

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