The Daily Caller

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ROCHESTER, MI - NOVEMBER 09:  Republican presidential candidate Texas Governor Rick Perry answers a question during a debate hosted by CNBC and the Michigan Republican Party at Oakland University on November 9, 2011 in Rochester, Michigan. The debate is the first meeting of the eight GOP presidential hopefuls since allegations of sexual impropriety have surfaced against front-runner Herman Cain.  (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images) ROCHESTER, MI - NOVEMBER 09: Republican presidential candidate Texas Governor Rick Perry answers a question during a debate hosted by CNBC and the Michigan Republican Party at Oakland University on November 9, 2011 in Rochester, Michigan. The debate is the first meeting of the eight GOP presidential hopefuls since allegations of sexual impropriety have surfaced against front-runner Herman Cain. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)  

Take that, California! Texas takes the lead in tech exports

If business trends continue, the next Mark Zuckerberg may sport a cowboy hat and a pair of rattlesnake boots.

According to the tech advocacy firm TechFreedom, Texas is now the leading state in tech export sales. Rick Perry’s Texas has surpassed California as a high-tech Mecca.

Thanks to its robust manufacturing of semiconductors, telecommunications devices, computers, and other tech-related items, Texas sent $45 billion in products outside of U.S. borders, a seven percent or $3 billion increase from 2011.  California, formerly the reigning champ in tech sales, earned only $44.8 billion in 2012, nearly a three percent decline from 2011.

Upon the release of the study state Rep. Kenny Marchant addressed reporters at a news conference in Austin, “Texas is really happy to have this kind of emphasis put on its tech industry,” he said.

“While America stands at the cutting edge of tech trade growth, we must continue building an environment in which entrepreneurship, creativity, and open markets freely flourish,” Marchant said.

Creating an entrepreneur-friendly atmosphere is exactly what Texas Gov. Rick Perry has done, says TechFreedom’s vice president Matthew Kazmierczak.

One program Perry established to lure businesses to his home state,  was the Texas Enterprise Fund (TEF), which grants money to companies who will expand or relocate to the state. Another initiative that specifically focused on expanding Texas’ tech industry was the Texas Emerging Technology Fund (TETF), which invested $193.7 million in high tech companies and research institutions in Texas so that the two entities could partner in effort to research innovative new technologies.

In addition to the money Perry has put into the tech industry, Texas’ business-friendly approach to regulations and taxes, and its relatively low cost of living make it an ideal place to operate a company.

Chuck DeVore, the vice president of policy of The Texas Public Policy Foundation and a former California state lawmaker, told The Daily Caller News Foundation that the regulatory costs of starting a business in California can be debilitating.

“That sort of burden in addition to having some of the highest taxes on business in the country is a powerful disincentive to open and run a company,” he said.

DeVore explained that when starting a company people need to consider costs to acquire land, payroll taxes, electricity, labor costs, and transportation and housing costs for employees — among other things. Texas, DeVore said, performs very well in all of these areas.

These cost-efficient attractions have attracted many businesses. Verizon, Texas Instruments and other large tech companies are headquartered in the Dallas area and other major businesses such as Xerox, IBM, Google, Facebook, among many others, also have offices in the state.

Tech manufacturing plants have helped make Texas the number one state for jobs. Exports to foreign counties, especially Mexico, helped put 331,000 people on payroll — the most out of any state. Texas alone supports 22 percent of the nation’s technology manufacturing jobs.

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