AUSTIN - Gov. Rick Perry, on his Web site July 9, published that “Texas Is America’s Top State for Business,” citing results of the CNBC “Top States for Business 2008” survey.
The survey scored each state on 40 different measures of competitiveness, using publicly available data.
Among measures used in the survey: cost of doing business, workforce, economy, education, quality of life, technology and innovation, transportation, cost of living, business friendliness and access to capital.
Texas’ strongest showings were in economy, technology and innovation, transportation and cost of living.
Meanwhile, state Comptroller Susan Combs, had this to say in her “Comptroller’s Economic Outlook” dated July 10: “So far, the Texas economy continues to be in better shape than most other states. While we see a cooling in the economy, there are aspects like good job growth and revenue growth that show the state is faring better than what’s happening on the national front.
“Employment in Texas continues to expand. From May 2007 to May 2008, Texas gained about 238,700 jobs, which is more than the next seven top job growth states combined. Texas accounted for 53.4 percent of the jobs gained in the nation during that time period.
“Sales tax revenue is the state’s largest source of general revenue. So far this year, sales tax revenue is 5.8 percent higher than the same period last year.”
Tape of arson remains secret
A security camera videotaped the June 8 arson fire that gutted the Governor’s Mansion.
The Texas Department of Public Safety sought a ruling from the Texas Attorney General’s Office to prevent release of the tape, or copies of it, to the public.
If the fire had been ruled an act of terrorism, the tape would have been deemed confidential under federal and state homeland security laws. But there has been no such ruling.
However, the contents of the tape may be kept confidential under the Texas public information law, because it is part of an ongoing criminal investigation, the Attorney General’s Office ruled.
AG looks at religious lit courses
The Attorney General’s Office completed its required review of proposed rules by the State Board of Education regarding “religious literature” courses that Texas public high schools can offer under a law passed by the Legislature in 2007.
Deputy Attorney General Andrew Weber, in a July 9 letter to SBOE Chairman Don McLeroy, wrote that it could not be concluded whether Bible courses would comply with the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and that the attorney general’s office is unable to “preclear” courses.
Constitutional challenges may arise over the way these courses are taught.
AG files Medicaid fraud lawsuit
Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott on July 9 filed a lawsuit in a Travis County state district court charging a list of generic drug manufacturers with reporting false, inflated drug prices to the Texas Medicaid program.
The lawsuit alleges that the manufacturers falsely reported prices, and as a result, Medicaid reimbursed pharmacies at vastly inflated rates. The false reporting of drug prices is a violation of the Texas Medicaid Fraud Prevention Act.
The lawsuit names Watson/Schein Pharmaceuticals Inc. of California; Alpharma Inc. of New Jersey; Par Pharmaceutical Inc. of New Jersey; and Barr Pharmaceuticals Inc. of New York.
Census ranks fast growing cities
The U.S. Census on July 10 released data showing that in 2007, McKinney, Killeen and Denton ranked in the top 10 fastest growing cities in the nation.
In another category, numerical population increase, data showed Houston added 38,932 residents between July 1, 2006, and July 1, 2007, to lead the nation. Joining Houston in the top 10 on that list were: San Antonio, third; Fort Worth, fourth; and Austin, eighth.
New way to track ‘your money’
For Texans interested in how their tax dollars are being spent, there is a new Web site: TexasBudgetSource.com.
The site is a project of the Austin-based conservative think tank, Texas Public Policy Foundation. Talmadge Heflin, a former state lawmaker, is director of the foundation’s Center for Fiscal Policy. He said the purpose of the Web site is to bring greater transparency to government spending.