Jamie Kelly Jun. 14, 2016, 9:07am


AUSTIN—An expansion by W. W. Grainger Inc. in San Antonio that will bring approximately 200 jobs to the city is the latest example of businesses across a wide range of industries that are moving to or expanding in Texas, a trend that’s partly due to the state’s favorable legal, regulatory and tax climates, according to the state’s economic development chief.

“I think businesses have a lot of advantages here,” Bryan Daniel, executive director of the Governor’s Office of Economic Development and Tourism, told the SE Texas Record. “Certainly our legal climate is a fair one, and I think businesses respond to fair treatment whenever you can give it to them. But I think it's a probably a larger reason than that, in the sense that the legal climate is combined with a fairly straightforward and certainly fair regulatory environment, combined with a tax environment that a business can easily understand and build into their bottom line in such a way that they can be successful in the state.”

The $3.9 million Grainger expansion, which was announced June 7, added a second location in San Antonio, and brought the number of the company’s facilities in the state to more than 40. Retail companies such as Grainger and Amazon are among the kinds of businesses that are strong in Texas, but multiple sectors are seeing growth and expansion, Daniel said.

“We've seen now for several months an interest from businesses both moving here and making expansions when they already have business units here,” he said. “Both of those things are fairly significant for the state's economy. And we're seeing that across a real diverse number of businesses. It's not one or two sectors, and I think that points to the overall good health of the Texas economy.”

Major growth sectors include technology, financial services and restaurant companies, as well as retail operations, he said. Those account for the larger businesses, and the governor’s office is working on counting the number of startups in the state, as well as smaller businesses that are moving to or expanding in Texas.

Businesses moving or expanding speak to the health of the state’s economy now, Daniel said, but they also set the groundwork for its future health.

“The immediate impact locally is jobs for the folks who live there, which of course really helps solidify the housing and real estate market,” he said. “It creates opportunities for other businesses in town. Every time a company comes into a community to create new jobs, whether those are moving from somewhere else or from an expansion they've created in the state, they really create a healthy situation for all the businesses that were already in the community, and the potential for more businesses to move in, as people have more stability in their income and their personal economics.”

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