Gov. Greg Abbott Mar. 28, 2016, 3:40pm


Tech jobs are flowing to Texas as businesses flee California's high taxes, burdensome regulations and unaffordable housing.

During SXSW Interactive, Austin is the undisputed capital of digital and tech; it's also the nation's top city for tech job growth, creative job growth and startups year-round.

But the tech boom goes beyond Austin's city limits.

The entire state of Texas is transforming into the new tech mecca.

Innovative startups are joining industry leaders -- like Amazon, Apple, DropBox, eBay, Facebook, Google, LiveOps Cloud, Microsoft, Oracle, RackSpace, Samsung, SpaceX and others -- along with longtime IT titans AT&T, Dell and BMC software in calling Texas home.

Tech businesses succeed in Texas because we've built a framework that allows free enterprise to flourish. Less government, lower taxes, smarter regulations and right-to-work laws attract employers to Texas where a high-performing employee base is drawn from top-ranked universities with annual R&D expenditures exceeding $4.5 billion.

So how big is tech in Texas?

It's Texas-big.

In fact, Texas is the top high-tech exporting state, beating California for the third year in a row in 2015.

Texas is No. 1 for cloud, network support and data services jobs. Texas ranks second for overall high-tech employment and high-tech firms, for gaming and entertainment software jobs, and for engineering and electrical engineering doctorates awarded. And the IT and software sector is No. 1 for foreign direct investments in Texas.

Why do tech businesses grow better in Texas?

Texas is where the talent wants to be. That's why about two dozen Bay Area companies have built or expanded operations here since 2014.

Texas offers the second-largest job-ready workforce at 13 million strong. With one of the youngest median ages in the country, employees here are also among the most engaged.

Texas offers lower costs of living with a high quality of life, keeping employees happy and less likely to be poached. "Night and day" is how one tech CEO described the difference between Silicon Valley and his new Texas headquarters.

Texas also offers lower operating costs with no personal or corporate income tax, and we just slashed the business margins tax by 25 percent. With lower power costs and an independent energy grid, we're also speeding up permitting and reining in regulations.

And Texas offers room to grow. From amenity-rich ex-urban campuses to warehouse conversions in our vibrant downtowns, Texas offer lower land costs and fewer land-use restrictions than the Bay Area.

Finally, our robust infrastructure and easy port access make Texas a major trade hub.

Where are the tech hubs in Texas?

Both established and emerging tech companies are concentrated in Texas' "Innovation Corridor," stretching from Fort Worth to Dallas in North Texas and then south to Austin, Houston, San Antonio and beyond.

But it's a big state and tech is growing everywhere -- from the tech-driven oil fields in West Texas to the world's first privately funded vertical rocket launch site in the Rio Grande Valley.

What investments is the state making?

Texas is making strategic investments in transportation and education to spur continuing economic expansion.

We are committing $450 million to elevate our university research programs, including the Governor's University Research Initiative providing matching funds to attract even more Nobel laureates and National Academy members.

Recent legislation in Texas exempted hosting and data center companies from collecting sales and use taxes from customers. That exemption was also extended to qualifying equipment purchases for data centers.

And we've added $90 million to the Texas Enterprise Fund, the largest "deal-closing" fund of its kind.

Texas is wide open for business. I invite you to visit. https://texaswideopenforbusiness.com/.

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