According to a Texas State Comptroller’s study, if Texas were a country it would have the 10th largest economy in the world.
The State of Texas is led by Republican Governor Greg Abbott, who was elected to his first term in November 2014. Prior to his election, Governor Abbott was the 50th and longest-serving Attorney General of Texas. Approximately 27.5 million people call the 267,000 square-mile state home, which ranks second in population in the nation. Texas consists of 187 state agencies that employ over 1 million people, 254 counties and more than 1,200 municipal governments. The State Capitol is located in Austin, which has 45 state office buildings that total roughly 10 million square feet. The state has over 5 million public school children in over 8,600 public schools across more than 1,200 school districts employing more than 400,000 educators. Texas’ system of public higher education encompasses 37 general academic institutions; three lower-division institutions; 50 community and junior college districts; one technical college system; and 12 health related institutions, which include two new medical schools that began accepting students in fall 2016. Over 1.3 million students are enrolled in public higher education in Texas.
Texas spends over $100 billion per year, and $209.4 billion was approved for the 2016-2017 biennial cycle during the 84th Texas Legislature, with a projected $10.4 billion Rainy Day Fund at the end of 2017. In the $209.4 billion budget, only around $106.6 billion is general revenue money, with the rest of the funds coming from the federal government or placed in the highway fund and bond proceeds, the uses of which are tightly specified. In per capita spending by state, Texas ranks 46th in the nation, meaning there is likely less fat to trim when making budget cuts in Texas than in other states.
Notwithstanding continuing weakness in the oil and natural gas production and related industries over the past year, in state fiscal 2016 the Texas economy added 190,600 nonfarm jobs, for an annual increase of 1.6 percent. Private-sector employment rose by 1.5 percent while government employment (federal, state and local) grew by 2.1 percent. Texas added more new jobs than any other states except California and Florida in fiscal 2016, and had the lowest unemployment rate among the 10 most populous states at the end of that year (4.7 percent, tied with Florida). The Texas unemployment rate remained below the national rate in every month of 2016, as it has since January 2007. As of August 2016, Texas total nonfarm employment stood at 12,053,400.