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June/July 2010 – Web Exclusive

A Letter from the Comptroller

Photo of Susan Combs

Across Texas

  • Samsung Electronics has announced plans for a $3.6 billion expansion of its chip-making facilities in Austin. The project, scheduled for completion in 2011, will bring 500 additional jobs, offsetting a round of job cuts made in 2009.
  • San Antonio’s Trinity University has begun construction of a 55,000-square-foot Science and Engineering Center. Local firm Joeris General Contractors Ltd. will serve as general contractor for the project.
  • Sugar Land, near Houston, is partnering with Pennsylvania’s Opening Day Partners, LLC to build a minor-league baseball stadium. The $30 million facility is expected to create 120 jobs and draw 300,000 visitors each year.

This is the time of year when Texas schools send new crops of freshly minted graduates out into what is often called “the real world.”

It’s when many of these young people start looking for and landing their first job, taking the initial steps on the career path for which they’ve studied and prepared. Then they take a close look at their first pay stub, and even those who got through math classes by the skin of their teeth can add up the many ways in which this real world affects their take-home pay.

In this issue of Fiscal Notes, we look at the growing costs of entitlement programs, those obligations that governments have made to various segments of the citizenry. Whether it’s Social Security, Medicaid or Medicare, benefits guaranteed in the past are straining budgets today…and will be an even bigger burden tomorrow.

But when I hear the word “entitlement,” I often think of something else. I think of what we’re all entitled to as taxpayers and citizens of Texas.

Taxpayers are entitled to know the true cost of our state government.

You’re all entitled to know where and how your money is being spent.

Our citizens should be able to see that their tax dollars are being invested wisely, and that we’re getting a good return on that investment in the form of tangible, quantifiable benefits, such as a more prepared work force — as our Every Chance Funds are creating — and an environment where businesses can succeed and grow.

These “entitlements” aren’t legislative mandates or burdensome obligations. They’re the fundamental obligations I believe your state government owes to each of you.

Because if we are to make our money go further — whether you’re driving a pickup truck or a state economy — we need sound information and an insistence on value. That’s what we’re giving you.

And that’s why, here in Texas, we’re on the brink of an even brighter future.

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