Texas gives Silicon Valley a run for its money
Monday, 6 Jul 2015 | 11:47 AM ETCNBC.com
AT&T saw the benefits of moving to the Lone Star State before most. Texas has been our headquarters since 1993. As we’ve grown as a company—from $10.7 billion in revenues in 1993 to more than $130 billion in 2014—we’ve also seen Texas grow. During that time, the state’s GDP nearly tripled, to $1.66 trillion. If Texas were a country, it would have the 12th-largest economy in the world.
Why has the Texas economy grown so quickly? It’s a great place to do business and to live.
Regulators and lawmakers in Texas have taken a number of steps to encourage businesses to move to Texas and invest there. Its tax structure makes the cost of doing business in Texas more competitive and encourages investment—which in turn creates jobs. For companies like AT&T, incentives to invest include sales tax rebates on equipment used for video, Internet and telecom services. With no income tax for individuals and families, Texas businesses can attract some of the best talent in the nation.
Investment in infrastructure has also made Texas easy to reach by air, land or sea. The state has more than 310,000 miles of public roads—more than any other state. Both people and goods can travel to Texas via 26 commercial airports and 624 miles of coastline, with more than 20 ports, including Houston, the nation’s largest.
At the same time, technology and innovation are also driving growth. Start-ups no longer need to go to Silicon Valley to launch their businesses: They can come to Texas. Austin consistently lands among the top places in the nation to launch a start-up. But in the last few years, the tech and start-up scene in Dallas has also taken off. Nationally recognized accelerators and incubators are building an infrastructure to support entrepreneurs. The result has been more than30 tech acquisitions since 2012 and more than 20 tech IPOs planned for 2015. With this vibrant and growing ecosystem, Dallas has begun to appear along with Austin on lists of the top cities for start-ups and tech.
We’ve done our part to support this resurgence in the Dallas area. Our four AT&T Foundry locations, including one in Plano, have launched more than 200 projects with start-ups, innovators and investors. The result? Dozens of new products and services for our customers.
But it’s not just about the resources Texas offers businesses. We also want our employees to be happy we’re here. Texas has a low cost of living plus good public schools with one of the nation’s lowest dropout rates. Add nationally ranked universities and a wide variety of cultural, sports and recreational opportunities, and people want to live and work in Texas.
These factors have combined to make Texas one of the most robust economies in the nation. During the 2008 recession, it was one of the few states to add jobs. And as the country has emerged from the recession, Texas has continued to grow. Its unemployment rate has been at or below the U.S. average for 101 straight months. As a result, from 2007 to 2013, Texas contributed nearly a third of all economic growth in the United States.
Its friendly business climate, high quality of life and robust economy are just some of the many reasons AT&T, along with more than 50 other Fortune 500 companies, is proud to call Texas home.
—By John Stephens, senior executive vice president and CFO for AT&Tand CNBC Global CFO Council member