One of the things I love about my job is the chance to travel around the state and meet Texans committed to helping other Texans reach their full potential. Last week I spent two days in Fort Worth, inspired by the can-do spirit of Cowtown.
Leadership Fort Worth sponsored a top-notch gathering of business and civic leaders eager to learn more about the opportunities and challenges facing our state. I presented data from CPPP’s newest fact sheet, Miracle or Mirage? Texas and Our Path to Opportunity, which takes a hard look at what’s working for Texas and what’s not good enough for our great state.
While some claim that Texas benefits from a “miracle” economy, the full story of how Texas is doing is more complicated. As Texans, we can be proud of our tremendous economic and social capital while also conducting an honest analysis of what needs improvement.
Fort Worth leaders are rightly concerned that 24 percent of full-time, year-round jobs in their community pay less than $25,000 per year, and that poverty is up 22 percent since 2000. We discussed the impact of raising the minimum wage and reducing the cost of higher education and health care so more families can make ends meet.
I was equally inspired by the United Way of Tarrant County and their local partners, who are doing great work to ensure that all residents can learn well, earn well, and live well. I joined their Economic Summit to share data on how Tarrant County is faring on educational outcomes, living wage jobs, and family savings. While the data showed that much work remains to be done, everyone I met is doing their part to change the numbers so all Texans can reach their full potential.
The good people of Fort Worth know that Texas doesn’t need a miracle to solve our problems. We need common sense policy solutions that help all Texans thrive, engaged citizens who want a better future for all children, and policymakers who will work together to make Texas the best state for hard-working people and their families.