Is Texas Gov. Rick Perry a Jobs Wizard?


While the state's property taxes may be higher than in other states, Hamermesh said the lack of an income tax and lower rates for other taxes contribute to what he says are poor public services.

For instance, Texas has the highest rate of uninsured workers in the country at 27.4 percent, according to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and State Health Access Data Assistance Center at the University of Minnesota.

Hamermesh said the factors for job creation are more complicated than taxes and public policies.

"The answer is the industries that we're in have done fairly well in the past recession," Hamermesh said. "The other issue is the continuing movement of everyone and everything towards the Southwest."

Lori Taylor, an associate professor at the Bush School of Government and Public Service, Texas A&M University, said public education has been relatively insulated from the recession because of the two-year budget cycle, but that may change this academic year.

Legislators approved a budget with $4 billion in spending cuts for K-to-12 public education, about 6 percent per district, along with deep cuts in higher-education and Medicaid funding.

"I think that's there's no doubt it will have a negative impact on education on the state," Taylor said. "Some school districts will weather the storm pretty well. Others already pinching every penny 'til it hurts will be much more affected."

A large number of Texas school districts have announced layoffs for the fall and class sizes are likely to increase, according to Taylor.

While there is not definitive research that indicates class sizes always affect learning, Taylor said, "it's something that has a number of Texas parents worried."

Also, Taylor is concerned a large fraction of the workforce will be poorly educated. Low wages may be tolerable now because of the state's low cost of living, but they may not be sustainable for growth and prosperity, she said.

"Jobs of the future won't be those that require a strong back and a willing heart," Taylor said. "It's not the same thing as saying everyone needs to go to college, but everyone needs skills in the labor force."

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