When legislators gather in Austin, we might ask they take the Hippocratic Oath usually reserved for doctors. Or at least the part about “never do harm” as it regards our state economy. Texas Workforce Commission chairman Tom Pauken writes this week that while states like Michigan have a 9.6 percent unemployment rate and the nation lost 1.1 million jobs, Texas has a relatively low 5.6 unemployment rate and posted a quarter-million new jobs.
But Pauken warns we cannot get comfortable, writing “I would expect unemployment rates in Texas to continue to track the national trend upward in the months ahead.”
One way to mitigate the national problems is for lawmakers to resist the urge to grow state government. Programs designed to help the poor usually have the opposite effect by increasing the size of government and dragging at the economy.
A better way to assist all Texans is to restrict the growth of government, significantly cut property taxes (to zero, preferably), and remove the business tax — especially from small businesses that make up the bulk of the state’s job creation engine.