Gov. Abbott: Businesses Fleeing “Shutdown States” Are Powering “Booming” Texas Economy

Gov. Abbott: Businesses Fleeing “Shutdown States” Are Powering “Booming” Texas Economy

Gov. Greg Abbott said the companies fleeing shutdown states are “powering the economy” of Texas on FNC’s “Sunday Morning Futures” with Maria Bartiromo.

“Over the course of the COVID year, Texas moved from 10th to ninth globally as the ninth-largest economy in the entire world,” he said.

GOV. GREG ABBOTT (R-TX): Listen, the numbers just continue to improve.

To put all of this in context, from the very beginning, many businesses remained open. And then, back in October, businesses opened up at 75 percent. And then, as you pointed out, in March, we had the entire economy open up 100 percent and no more masks.

And, of course, President Biden and the Democrats railed against it. You heard what President Biden said. Other Democrats said that I had issued a death warrant. And then, as you pointed out, we continued to have a decline in deaths after we opened up 100 percent, until we reached that mark of a day with zero deaths.

And hospitalizations continue to go down even more. The number of cases and positivity rate continue to go down even more. Yesterday was the lowest positivity rate that we have had on record during the history of the entire pandemic. And so it shows that the right move was to make sure that we did open up, get things back to normal.

Also, one thing that I did last week was to make sure that students would all be back in school, no more masks in school. It’s time to get back to normal, both with regard to business openings, as well as children back in schools with no more masks.

BARTIROMO: Yes. And, Governor, connect the dots for us in terms of the economic story that is also flourishing in Texas. I know that Texas is one of 22 states to now pull back on this $300-a-week federal unemployment benefit.

But you have got businesses opening, small businesses once again getting back to thriving. And that’s coinciding with a big boom in terms of jobs and growth. Walk us through what’s happening for the economy of Texas right now as well.

ABBOTT: Well, the economy is booming.

And one reason why we withdrew from the federal unemployment benefit addition, which is on top of the Texas unemployment benefits, is because there is such high demand for workers. In fact, according to the Texas Workforce Commission, we have as many job openings as there are people who are seeking unemployment, in addition to a very important fact.

And that is about 18 percent of the people filing unemployment claims turned out to be false. But here’s what’s going on economically. From last April to this April, Texas added about a million new jobs, according to the Dallas Federal Reserve. Throughout the remainder of the year, we will be adding about another 800,000 jobs.

The last report for the state gross domestic — gross domestic product, Texas was second in the United States, with a very robust 7.5 percent quarter-over-quarter increase in gross domestic product.

I have got to tell you this, Maria. Consumer spending is through the roof. As you know, consumer spending is about two-thirds of the economy. According to the Dallas Federal Reserve, consumer spending now is above where it was before the pandemic even hit.

And you see this in busy stores. You see it in crowded roadways. You see it in restaurants and things like that. But one thing that is powering the economy is because so many businesses are fleeing shutdown states.

You know about the Tesla Gigafactory. Oracle moved its headquarters from California to Austin. Hewlett-Packard Enterprise moved its headquarters to Houston. You had CBRE, the Fortune 500 real estate company, move its headquarters to Dallas. And, earlier this year, Charles Schwab opened up its headquarters in Dallas, Texas.

And so we see so many businesses coming to the state of Texas. And that is one reason why Texas was recently recognized by the CEOs of this country in CEO magazine as the best state for doing business. It’s why Texas ranked number one in the nation than last year for the most new economic development projects.

And one last factoid real quick, Maria. And that is, here’s what happened over the course of the COVID year. Texas moved from 10th to ninth globally as the ninth largest economy in the entire world.


Well, that’s terrific. I know that you’re seeing a lot of people and businesses move to Texas. You just look at the income tax, no state income tax. And that is certainly one of the allures, as President Biden efforts raising taxes pretty significantly for business and individuals.

Where does the Texas voting law stand? I want to ask you that. You mentioned CEOs. You had a lot of CEOs balking over the voting laws going on in other states. I want to get your take on what you’re doing in Texas and when you will sign it.

Let’s go through the election bill that passed the Texas House on May 7 prohibiting sending unsolicited mail ballot applications by election officers, banning paid vote harvesting activity, protects poll watchers’ right to meaningly observe what’s happening.

When will you sign this bill?

ABBOTT: So, it hasn’t finally been passed. It should pass this coming week. And I will be signing it immediately.

What this law really does — and so, in Texas, every session, we focus on making sure we have safe and secure elections. And this has absolutely nothing to do with the past presidential election. But one thing that we do know in Texas, and that is that mail-in ballot — mail-in ballots are rife with fraud, as well as ballot harvesting.

And I got to tell you this very quick, Maria, and that, it’s not me talking. It’s a federal judge appointed by Barack Obama in Texas that made a ruling that said that ballot harvesting and mail-in ballot fraud happens in abundance in the state of Texas.

Barack Obama himself, with Joe Biden as vice president, they investigated and prosecuted a ballot harvesting scheme in South Texas, where they were using cocaine to buy votes. We’re just trying to make sure that we crack down on voter fraud like that.

BARTIROMO: Yes, that’s unbelievable.

And yet, even as Obama and Biden were behind that, the Democrats are pushing forth H.R.1. And that has mail-in ballots becoming the standard.

Governor, before you go, we have got to talk quickly about the border and how you assess things today. I was grateful to take a helicopter trip with you on the Black Hawk Helicopter and be able to view the border in broad daylight. And we see groups of five, 10, 15, 20 people on that road right next door to the Rio Grande as a regular occurrence right now.

And you tweeted this weekend about the seizure of weapons and ammunition yesterday. There was a seizure of weapons and ammunition by the Department of Public Safety. Tell me about the seizures that you’re seeing in terms of illicit narcotics and guns at the border.

Have you seen any change in terms of the border and the apprehensions and the people coming into Texas?

ABBOTT: So, there’s been a dramatic increase in the amount of drugs coming across the border that is very dangerous to people across the entire United States.

The Texas Department of Public Safety patrols the border every single day. And they have seen an 800 percent increase in the amount of fentanyl coming across the border. They seized this year enough fentanyl to kill every man, woman and child in the entire state of New York.

And so we are cracking down on this because this is very dangerous. What happens is, pills or other drugs that people may buy off the street are laced with this fentanyl, and it’s killing more and more people. Americans need to wake up to this crisis.

The border issue is not on the Rio Grande Valley. It goes all the way up to New York or to Minnesota or Chicago, places across the country. And what the border crisis is doing that Biden has opened up, it is enriching the cartels, who profit off of moving fentanyl and other drugs into the United States.


Henry Strother

Henry Strother started working for Business Journal in 2020.  Henry grew up in a small town in Western Florida, but moved to Tampa to attend college.  Before joining Business Journal, Henry worked as a freelance journalist for several radio stations.  He covers business, technology and lifestyle stories.