A fresh look at employment growth

Tuesday, Aug. 12, 2014

National employment growth once again topped the 200,000 level in July, putting together the longest string of monthly gains of that magnitude since the late 1990s. The latest US Bureau of Labor Statistics data shows an increase of 209,000, bringing the total US job gain over the past 12 months to almost 2.3 million. While the unemployment rate ticked up very slightly to 6.2 percent because there were more new entrants into the workforce than jobs added, there has been notable improvement over the past year. We are finally well over the prior peak back in January 2008, and the job situation is showing signs of lasting and sustainable improvement. The numbers of people losing their jobs has been trending downward, signaling stability. However, there are still some problem areas.

Developing the Texas is incentive driven

Tuesday, Aug. 05, 2014

The most important key to success in economic development is to create an environment where companies want to locate. This task is achieved through a favorable tax and regulatory climate, a fair and predictable judicial system, excellent education and training at all levels, infrastructure that can sustain a growing economy, and a desirable quality of life. Texas does quite well in some of these areas, but faces notable challenges in others, particularly over the long term.

Granger releases border crisis working group recommendations

Tuesday, Jul. 29, 2014

U.S. Rep Kay Granger of Fort Worth, Chairwoman of the House Working Group to address the national security and humanitarian crisis at the southern border, issued the following statement announcing the group’s recommendations and solutions:

Annual Texas sales tax holiday is just around the corner

Tuesday, Jul. 22, 2014

Texas Comptroller Susan Combs reminds shoppers they can save money on certain items priced under $100 during the state’s annual sales tax holiday. This year, the sales tax holiday is scheduled for Friday, Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 8 -10.

Ex-Im Bank good for all

Tuesday, Jul. 15, 2014

Sometimes, the inability to get things done in Washington almost defies belief. In many instances, hard choices have to be made, with intense disagreement about how to allocate scarce resources. Other times, deeply seated philosophical differences about the appropriate role of government make compromise difficult. With regard to the Export-Import (Ex-Im) Bank of the United States, however, what should be a simple and obviously desirable extension of the charter for an 80-year-old agency has become a ridiculous (with all due respect) debate.

We could learn a lot more than sport from U.S. team

| |Tuesday, Jul. 08, 2014

There have been plenty of reasons to wear red, white and blue lately.

Texas oil production stronger than ever

Tuesday, Jul. 01, 2014

Texas oil production has staged a remarkable comeback over the past few years, and the size and speed of the upswing are impressive and surprising to many people (including me). I get asked a lot of questions about the oil business as I travel around the state; it’s a topic near and dear to many hearts. Here are some of the aspects of the current oil surge which I find most interesting.

Fixing student loans may be a challenge

Tuesday, Jun. 17, 2014

Student loans are once again in the news, with the Obama Administration proposing to add some five million individuals with outstanding loan balances to the Pay as You Earn (PAYE) plan. The plan caps student loan payments at 10 percent of income, and loan balances disappear after 20 years (10 years for persons working in the public sector). Most students now taking out loans can already access PAYE, but many of those with older loans have not been eligible. In addition, many students with loans are unaware of the PAYE option. The new proposal would enhance both the availability of the program and efforts to make students aware of its existence.

Tax recovery anemic for some states, others booming

Tuesday, May. 27, 2014

Although the economy is finally almost back to where it stood before the recent recession by some measures, other indicators remain depressingly off. Job gains have been spotty, both in terms of industry and geography. Some states are still struggling to deal with high unemployment and a lack of opportunities. In addition, long-term unemployment is a problem, with many job seekers giving up. Fallout from the recession also continues for state and local governments, which experienced notable declines in tax receipts when the economy went into recession.

Letters to the Editor

Tuesday, May. 20, 2014

Dear Editor,