Texas tops the nation for its business climate, time and again. It's far too easy to take the state's strong economy and success in growing jobs for granted.As the legendary battlefield commander Gen. Hal Moore said, "There is always one more thing you can do to influence any situation in your favor."As Texas lawmakers look over the landscape of challenges and opportunities before our state, they would be wise to heed Moore and pursue one more thing, then another, to keep Texas on top.While Texas boasts one of the most business-friendly climates, with low taxes and a predictable regulatory structure, lawmakers cannot rest. Manufacturing constitutes 15 percent of the state's economy, and Texas is the No. 1 exporter of manufactured goods.We have to protect that standing. Other states and nations are looking for ways to erode Texas' competitive edge, especially in attracting manufacturing investment and the high-quality jobs that go with it.Louisiana passed initiatives to land major industrial relocation projects and embraced new tax policies to attract private investment. Oklahoma is embracing tougher tort reform measures to keep more dollars and businesses on its side of the Red River.To keep good jobs here, it's imperative that Texas forge ahead with smart public policy that fortifies its position as an economic powerhouse.State House Speaker Joe Straus has shown forward-thinking leadership by charging every interim committee with identifying ways to grow manufacturing. Straus recently convened a special manufacturing committee at hearings around the state to consider those recommendations and discuss legislative solutions to bolster manufacturing.Lawmakers should consider a sales tax exemption for research and development equipment. Manufacturers in the high-tech, energy and biotechnology industries rely on research and development as the critical "first phase" for the manufactured products and solutions that power the Texas economy. Companies doing business in Texas invest billions of dollars in R&D efforts, which provide the highest-wage jobs and produce the highest economic multiplier effect of any sector of the economy.Lawmakers should also maintain the broad-based, low-rate business tax to help keep Texas attractive for major capital investment by manufacturers.Bringing efficiency to the permitting process in Texas should be next on the list. Surprising as it may sound, in certain cases it's more efficient for Texas businesses to get a permit from the federal Environmental Protection Agency than to get a permit from the Texas Commission for Environmental Quality.To stay competitive, Texas should adopt a notice and comment process similar to what's used by the EPA and many other states, allowing for adequate, legitimate public input while minimizing delays caused by the lengthy, costly and often unnecessary contested hearing process."One more thing" should include efforts to improve our state's education system to better prepare the skilled workers manufacturers so desperately need. Manufacturers are clamoring for qualified workers with a variety of specialties, from welders to engineers, process managers to pipe fitters, and risk analysts to chemists.Future manufacturing workers, who earn an average of average $70,000 a year, can succeed with proper training, technical certificates or associate, bachelor's and doctoral degrees.To fill manufacturing jobs, Texas leaders must develop a flexible educational framework that provides rigorous, relevant coursework and clearly links what students learn to jobs in the real world. We need lawmakers to strike upon a solution that achieves flexibility without forgoing accountability.If we truly heed Moore's counsel, our work to improve Texas and strengthen manufacturing will never end. If we're serious about keeping Texas on top, it's time to yank those bootstraps and get to work.Tony Bennett is the president of the Texas Association of Manufacturers.