Even though the Texas Legislature failed to pass measures to reform property taxes or the school finance system during the regular and special sessions, the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas says the Texas economy continues to grow at a solid pace.
Comptroller Glenn Hegar is the chief tax collector, accountant and revenue estimator for the state government. Among his responsibilities is providing the legislature with an estimate of state revenue before each regular legislative session.
On the rate of economic growth expected in the coming two years, and how it compares to previous years:
“We had looked at having probably three percent growth here in the state of Texas this fiscal year. ...If you look at Texas over the past 20 years, we’ve averaged 3.8 percent growth. It means that we would have slightly lower growth than we’ve had before. However, at the significant downturn of oil and gas and manufacturing, when we lost significant jobs in those industries in areas that contracted, the Texas economy only grew 0.3 or 0.4 percent.”
On economic growth so far this year:
“In the first quarter of this year...Texas grew by about 3.9 percent...(in) what has far outpaced all the other 49 states in the nation.”
On whether high oil prices or cheap gasoline are better for Texans:
“It’s really right in between the two. If you have $100 oil, that’s not good for us as consumers. However, if you have [prices] in the 30s, which we had a year ago, that’s not good either. If you’re in the high 40s, to the $65 range, those are good ranges.”
On the impact of renegotiating NAFTA:
“I think it’s healthy to evaluate trade agreements to see if you can find greater efficiencies for both partners. …However, the biggest loser in tearing up NAFTA and throwing it in the trash really would be Texas, because we are an export state.”
Written by Shelly Brisbin.