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Our eroding reputation as a good place to do business

If we don’t have that, what do we have?

Veteran Waco economist Ray Perryman is used to seeing an annual parade of best for business rankings that put Texas at the top.

Those rankings shape perceptions about the state’s business climate — a longtime selling point touted by politicians and economic development specialists alike.

That’s why Perryman finds one recent ranking “eerily disturbing.”

Texas fell to fourth in business news network CNBC’s annual ranking of best states for business, dropping two spots from its 2019 ranking. Virginia, North Carolina and Utah beat out Texas. The network didn’t do a 2020 ranking because of the pandemic.

So what led to Texas’ decline?

Look no further than the Lone Star State’s 49th place finish — ahead of only Arizona — in CNBC’s expanded category called life, health and inclusion. This year, that category included inclusiveness initiatives, health care resources, progress in ending the pandemic and other more traditional quality-of-life measures.

“This ranking is a compelling early warning signal that short-sighted, counterproductive policies risk eroding the progress over the past 30 plus years in building Texas to be the most competitive economy in the country,” said Perryman, president and chief executive officer of The Perryman Group. His firm produces economic estimates of everything from Texas’ epic winter storm to the consequences of Texas and Oklahoma leaving the Big 12 athletic conference.

“It’s an unforced error that the state can ill afford,” he wrote in his weekly column published on his website. The column was titled “This Stuff Matters!

That column is here. As noted, Perryman is the go-to guy for timely economic projections on a variety of subjects. He’s also been a consistent critic of things like our chronic underfunding of education and more recently the various forms of anti-transgender bills, so in a sense this is confirmation of his priors. It also makes sense, especially at a time where it’s cities and diversifying suburbs that are the biggest components of Texas’ economic engine and yet also a constant target of the state government. It’s not crazy to imagine that more people who might otherwise seek high-paying jobs here will be turned off by what Greg Abbott et al are doing. As with polls, this is one data point and you shouldn’t go overboard with it, but it’s worth keeping an eye on.

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  1. David Fagan says:

    44 days and counting……..

  2. Kibitzer says:


    The transgender stuff doesn’t make the case. It’s “one data point and you shouldn’t go overboard with it.” Sex-change surgery and hormone prescriptions simply aren’t that big of a component of the heath care market, or even the electivce segment thereof. Paradoxically as it may sound, the COVID-hospitalization/treatment is a much bigger economic factor, and will soon see even more growth as the delta variant ravages the unvaxxed segment of the community.

    Virus-rich poop sludge in the Houston sewer system already provides a reliable scientific omen, as the Chronicle helpfully reports.


    Also, let’s not forget that Texas is great for the gas-passing business.

    Our Oil & Gas Governor and his industry-captured regulators let sellers get away with charging $400 for what was trading at just $2-$3 dollars to take advantage of a winter storm, while actually paying some to shut down operations in the name of demand-response, thus further diminishing fuel supply to power stations under crisis conditions. Instead of curtailing market-driven pricing to prevent gouging in the midst of a cold disaster by emergency order, they raised the electricity wholesale price to a uniform max of $9,000 per MWh – and imposed that price by fiat. Great for business indeed.


    Germany (which also has a competitive electricity market) recently reached the highest wholesale electricity prices since 2008: 90 euros per MWh.

    Living up to Lone Star standards, here we beat Germany by a factor of 85. (1 EUR = 1.18 USD at current exchange rate).

    85 times more for the same amount of energy!


    And come to think of it, those burst-pipe and water damages in the billions are great for business, too. After all, they stimulated demand for remediation of homes, and for the plumbing supply & services sector.

    What’s not to like?