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Fiscal Notes

Fiscal Notes

A Review of the Texas Economy from the Office of Susan Combs, Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts · July 2011

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IT Help Wanted! Apply Austin, TX

Austin an IT Employment Hot Spot

A recent study from online salary comparison site named Austin among the top U.S. cities for information technology (IT) jobs with startup companies. The study defined “startup” IT companies as those having fewer than 75 employees, and ranked cities on the basis of median salaries and a comparison of their ratio of IT workers at startup IT firms to all workers versus the national ratio.

Austin ranked No. 2 nationally in the IT Startup Salary Hotspots Report, with San Francisco claiming the top spot. And while Austin’s median pay of $67,400 was lower than those in cities such as Seattle, Boston and New York City, the city offered the nation’s second-highest IT employment ratio.

(Tracey Lamphere)

Program Helps Texans Afford Homes

The Texas Mortgage Credit Program (TMCP) helps low- and moderate-income Texans — especially first-time homebuyers — purchase homes. Program applicants recently received a boost when the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs (TDHCA), which oversees the program, released more than $45 million in mortgage credit certificate authority to assist homebuyers.

TMCP is geared toward Texas families WHO:

  • are first-time buyers or who have not owned a home in the previous three years;
  • will use the home they buy as their primary residence; and
  • meet certain income and home purchase requirements, as well as the qualifying requirements of the mortgage loan.

This credit authority, essentially a tax credit, reduces a borrower’s tax liability. It applies to about $150 million in mortgage loans and should help more than a thousand eligible Texas families buy homes, once they have completed a certified homebuyer education class.

“The Texas Mortgage Credit Program is another helpful yet responsible resource that TDHCA can offer to qualifying Texas families who are prepared to be homeowners,” says acting TDHCA Executive Director Tim Gervin. “This is a terrific program, and we are excited to make it available to our fellow Texans.”

Qualifying families can deduct 30 percent of their annual mortgage interest, up to a maximum of $2,000 per year. The benefit lasts for the entire life of the mortgage loan.

The $45 million was split into two funds, targeted and non-targeted. The targeted fund is intended to help buyers in areas of the state affected by natural disasters, while the non-targeted is available to the rest of the state.

The targeted fund expires on Dec. 12, 2011, while the non-targeted authority expires on Dec. 31, 2011 — or until are funds are distributed.

Program details including fund availability, FAQs and locations and providers of homebuyer education and counseling classes are available online at

(Clint Shields)

Texas A&M Logo

Texas A&M Generates $3.7 Billion in Economic Activity

According to Texas A&M’s Division of Finance, the Texas A&M University System provided the state with a record-setting $3.7 billion in economic activity in 2010, $213.4 million more than in 2009. A record high in fall enrollment, construction activity and new-student conferences helped spur the increase.

The study showed that Texas A&M and other components of the A&M system in Bryan-College Station had a direct impact of almost $1.5 billion on the local economy, $85.3 million more than in the previous year.

Student spending also contributed to the increase in economic activity, with a $38.6 million increase over 2009.

New-student conferences — mandatory two-day sessions held in the summer — significantly added to the number of visitors to the Bryan-College Station area.

The system’s construction costs for calendar 2010 totaled almost $273.5 million, an increase of about $133 million over 2009.

(Tracey Lamphere)

Texas Job Growth Outpaces U.S.

Texas continues to generate jobs more quickly than the nation as a whole, with a 1.9 percent growth rate between May 2010 and May 2011, according to the Texas A&M University Real Estate Center’s most recent Monthly Review of the Texas Economy. This growth represents about 198,400 jobs gained.

Over the same period, U.S. nonfarm employment rose by just 0.7 percent.

Employment in Texas’ mining and logging industry — mostly oil and gas production — rose most quickly during the period, expanding by 15.6 percent or 31,700 jobs. Professional and business services added the highest number of jobs, gaining 54,400 additional positions.

Texas construction posted solid gains as well, growing by 4.7 percent or about 26,400 jobs. A 3.1 percent increase for education and health services translated into 43,500 additional jobs, the second-highest numerical gain among industry categories.

Texas jobs and employment data are available at on Texas Ahead.

(Clint Shields)

Job Growth in Texas, MAY 2010 to MAy 2011
Industry Rank Jobs
(May 2011)
Job Count ChangePercent Change
Mining & Logging 1 234,90031,70015.6%
Construction 2 591,80026,4004.7%
Professional & Business Services 3 1,319,80054,4004.3%
Education & Health Services 4 1,430,70043,5003.1%
Trade 5 1,659,90036,8002.3%
Other Services 6 370,6008,2002.3%
Leisure & Hospitality 7 1,045,50019,8001.9%
Manufacturing 8 818,60010,7001.3%
Transportation, Warehousing, Utilities 9 419,7004,5001.1%
Financial Activities 10 625,8002,7000.4%
Government 11 1,889,600–31,000–1.6%
Information 12 186,900–9,300–4.7%

Source: Texas A&M University Real Estate Center

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