District 126 and the entire Northwest Houston community is fortunate to have many economic assets. There is a reason why the largest publicly traded petroleum and petrochemical enterprise in the world just built a new campus near our community. In comparison to the rest of the state, our district exhibits higher per capita income, lower unemployment rates, a younger and better educated work force, and a higher degree of owner-occupied housing. Aside from these measures, our area also offers many quality of life characteristics that allow for strong economic development. Those factors include museums, arts and cultural activities, green space, health and wellness centers and good transportation corridors. The Northwest Houston area has the building blocks of a strong economy and it is one of my top priorities to continue that economic growth.
District 126 is full of engaged and ambitious community leaders with a focus on continued economic development. However, because our community is almost entirely an unincorporated area, economic development can be a challenge because of the absence of a means to fund such efforts. You can read more about what it means to live in an unincorporated area in my last blog post. During the 84th legislative session, House Bill 2528 was passed, which aids economic development specifically in unincorporated areas. The bill amended the state’s water code to allow participating water districts located in unincorporated areas of Harris County to accept voluntary donations via their water bill. The donations must be used by nonprofit organizations in the community that provide economic development programs that help preserve property values.
This bill was an initial step toward continued economic development in our community. If elected as the next State Representative for District 126, I plan to continue working with our Chambers of Commerce and community leaders to intensify efforts for economic development in our community and throughout Northwest Houston. Although it can be a challenge with many political hurdles to initiate programs for economic development in unincorporated areas, with the support of our community we will rise above these barriers and will continue our unprecedented economic growth and improvement of the quality of life for our residents.
Texas already has several programs in place that help companies of various sizes develop and grow, including the Texas Enterprise Fund, Texas Emerging Technology Fund, Manufacturing Sales Tax Exemption and the Skills Development Fund. These are beneficial programs that give small businesses a leg up, but we need additional programs that are directed specifically toward our community’s needs. I plan to focus on aggressive business retention to ensure existing businesses in our community have the resources needed to remain in the community and grow profitably. I will also work to recruit new businesses to help revitalize the community image of our area.