The State of Texas: July 9, 2014
Texas by The Numbers
Babies Having Babies — Drop in Texas teen birth rate between 1991 and 2012: 43 percent. Nationwide: 52 percent. Texas’s rank for teen birth rates: fifth. State’s rank for repeat teen birth rates: first. Cost of teen births, to taxpayers, in 2010: $1.1 billion. Number of prevention-based sex ed hours required in Texas schools: 0.
Relocation Fee — Amount Texas Enterprise Fund has spent this year trying to lure out-of-state companies: $61.1 million. Number of jobs that effort is expected to attract: 5,222. Capital investment: $394.4 million. Amount for Toyota, which received the highest TEF incentive: $40 million. Jobs created: 3,500.
Debtors Texas — Amount of bond debt Texas and its municipalities has incurred in the first half of this year: $19 billion. Increase from same period last year: 24 percent. In California: $17.4 billion. Last year: $27 billion. Rank of Texas’s debt incurrence among other states: first.
Talkin’ Borders — It looks like a national effort to alleviate the border crisis is slowly churning forward. First of, Governor Rick Perry is getting what he demanded. After insisting on a meeting with President Barack Obama (who will be in Texas for fundraising efforts) that was longer than “a quick handshake,” Perry will get some face time with the President. Details are scant, but “Gov. Perry is pleased that President Obama has accepted his invitation to discuss the humanitarian and national security crises along our southern border, and he looks forward to meeting with the president tomorrow,” according to the governor’s office. And President Obama has already put his money where his mouth will surely be; yesterday he asked Congress for a whooping $3.7 billion in additional border funds. The money’s ostensibly for what the White House calls an “actual humanitarian crisis,” according to the New York Times. “The president said he needed the money to set up new detention facilities, conduct more aerial surveillance and hire immigration judges and Border Patrol agents to respond to the flood of 52,000 children.” The money many not be rushing in as fast as the immigrants. It’s expected the White House will get some major resistance from Republicans who, like our very own senator John Cornyn, say the request lacks “substantive policy changes.” It may be time to send Senator Ted Cruz down to the border to stand guard until things get hashed out. We all know he can last at least 21 hours straight.
Coulda Been A Contender — Poor Dallas. Nothing stings more than losing out to Cleveland. And it wasn’t for lack of trying either. The Republican National Convention Site Committee announced yesterday they’d prefer to have their quad-annual party in The Cleve. Arlington mayor Robert Cluck was “stunned and disappointed.” Don’t beat yourself up, Cluck! It would seem the decision had nothing to do with DFW’s terrible traffic. Ironically, the very thing Democrats hope to one day achieve in this state is the exact reason the committee went with Cleveland: Ohio is an actual swing state. As one Lone Star political science professor so eloquently put it, “I don’t think it would’ve mattered if we had 25 elephants.” Which is a real shame, because we could have arranged that. After the announcement was made, Arlington City Council member Jimmy Bennett expressed what is perhaps the most reasonable, yet least-Texas, sentiment concerning the loss (not to mention the previous Olympic host-city bid). “It’s OK that we occasionally finish second in the competition for events,” he said.
Back In The Saddle Again — Texas ranches are so “in” right now. It would seem “ranch sales are currently surging in the Lone Star State,” according to Houston Chronicle. And thankfully, the surge is not due for some newfangled, citified reason, but rather a throwback to what made Texas Texas: the booming oil and gas trade. Not that those new ranchers are doing any actual ranching on their ranches. It’s more of a feeling of ranching. The “main drive is for recreational property, somewhere where owners can get away from the noisy city and go hunting, fishing, or generally enjoy the Texas outdoors. Some people … say they just want to get their kids out of the city, even if for only a few days or weeks at a time.” Our literary laureate Larry McMurtry would likely have a field day with this idea of the Texas myth being performed like a weekend reenactment. The average ranch sale is $5 million and “right now we are seeing the most activity in hot areas like Medina and Uvalde counties, west of San Antonio, although Colorado and Waller County are doing very well too.” Time to hitch the station wagons!
Moneyball — Just in time for football pre-season, the University of Houston announced its stadium has a new name. Will it be named after a famous player, perhaps? A exemplar of the athlete-scholar-leader? Close. “Texas Dow Employees Credit Union bought the naming rights for the facility, which will be known as TDECU Stadium,” reports the Houston Business Journal. “The 10-year deal is worth $15 million.” The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley might do well to keep that news in mind. As is bound to happen, the football-less university has been tossing around the idea of adding a football program in the distant future. The problem isn’t school spirit or the ability to round up eleven beef-fed boys, but rather “[UTPA athletics director Chris King] estimates that starting a football team at UTPA would cost a minimum of $3-4 million — a hefty sum for a program with an overall athletics budget of about $7 million for 2014,” according to The Monitor. “Judging by the recent addition of football at UTSA, the process would take at least three years. The journey begins with a football feasibility study, which cost UTSA $77,730.”