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Last week, I had the privilege of attending the Texas Public Policy Foundation's eleventh annual conference in Austin. A native Texan myself, I've always been proud of my state, some might say "obnoxiously proud" but I prefer to think of it as a, "passionate conviction of liberty and general badassness." In any case, the more I learn about the behind the scenes machinery, the more I love the Lone Star State.
Prior to the conference, budget analysts revealed that Texas is sitting pretty. When most states are struggling to make ends meet, Texas has a projected surplus of $8.8 billion. With this week kicking off the biannual legislative session, Governor Perry warned against the notion that Texas should spend more simply because we have more. To ensure another successful budget cycle, Governor Perry created the Texas Budget Compact. The compact is comprised of the following:
Budget surplus isn't the only good news for Texas. Unemployment has dropped well below the national average and to its lowest since 2008. The national average is 7.7% while Texas' unemployment rate fell to 6.2%.
Lower taxes and limited regulation that allows industry to flourish construct a winning model. Couple that with a strong commitment to tenth amendment principles and Texas is ripe for prosperity. “Texas is a laboratory for demonstrating conservative policies that work," Senator Ted Cruz said. What's happening in Texas should be an encouragement to the rest of the country. There's no complicated method involved, simply the practice of limited government that allows the free market to run its course.
Texas Public Policy Foundation Vice President of Communications, Chuck DeVore, has a brand new book on the subject, The Texas Model: Prosperity in the Lone Star State and Lessons for America. DeVore, a native of California, explores everything from the Texas economy, the morality of liberty and the free market, to taxes and criminal justice and creates an accurate picture of why the Texas model is suitable for other states. "Liberty proves its case in Texas -- not just on moral grounds but in real and measurable outcomes," DeVore writes. Texas is truly a testament to the blessings and abundance of liberty.