Dallas, TX – Texas House Speaker Joe Straus says his top priority for the next legislative session is the economy. KERA's Jacqueline Fellows reports.
The San Antonio Republican told the Richardson Chamber of Commerce Thursday that he specifically wants to attract more manufacturers to the state.
Straus: "Texas manufacturers employ more than 800,000 Texans who earn an average of 34 percent more than the rest of the Texas workforce. Manufacturing impacts agriculture, transportation, the hi-tech sector, and the environment. And we can find ways to grow our capacity in each one of those areas."
State lawmakers don't meet again until 2013. In the meantime, Straus says he wants to explore possible changes to the Texas Enterprise Fund, money set aside for business incentives.
Strauss: "We have a good record in job creation we have proven that in the past few years. But, I just want to make sure we take a fresh approach to make sure that everything we're doing is more competitive than Michigan for instance, or some other state that's had problems that it is now realizing that they're behind us and are now retooling their programs. Let's make sure we stay a step ahead of them."
Governor Rick Perry has been criticized for awarding money from the Texas Enterprise Fund to companies who haven't created as many jobs as promised.
Meanwhile, Straus has identified a total of 175 issues he wants legislative committees to study before 2013. His top three priorities are education, infrastructure, and economic development.