Yesterday, Governor Perry highlighted the importance of strengthening our state’s education, maintaining a focus on job creation efforts, and upholding principles of fiscal responsibility as the keys to continuing Texas’ success. He spoke at Receptor Logic, a company working to develop therapies for cancer and infectious disease.
View all the pictures from the press conference by visiting Rick Perry's Flickr page.
Another great way to see updates from the trail is by joining the nearly 3,000 people who follow @GovPerry2010 on Twitter.
Gov. Rick Perry will be joined by former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin at a rally in support of his re-election campaign on Sunday, Feb. 7 in the Houston area.
“I look forward to standing with Sarah to promote our shared conservative values of limited government, low taxes and individual freedom,” said Gov. Perry. “Gov. Palin is a true conservative leader whose priorities and message resonate with Texans, and I am honored to have her in Texas supporting my campaign.”
Gov. Palin will campaign with Gov. Perry to highlight the positive momentum Texas is experiencing through conservative leadership that has cut taxes, created jobs, strengthened education and secured our border.
Governor Rick Perry issued a statement this evening on Republican Senator-elect Scott Brown's big win in Massachusetts:
“I want to congratulate Senator-elect Scott Brown on his historic victory in Massachusetts. His election, along with the election last November of Republican governors in Virginia and New Jersey, should send a loud and clear message that the states of this great nation will continue to reject the misguided policies coming out of Washington, D.C. The election of a 41st Republican to the U.S. Senate is especially significant to stop the ill-advised health care bill that will cost states billions of dollars. I fully support Senator-elect Brown’s pledge to stand with Republicans in Congress to stop this harmful piece of legislation.”
KERA held a Republican debate this evening and here is what Governor Perry had to say afterwards:
"Tonight’s debate gave Texans the chance to hear competing visions for our state’s future while reflecting on the remarkable success story our state has written over the last several years.
"As our nation’s economy continues to struggle, our best prospects lie with maintaining our job-friendly climate, continuing to strengthen our education system, keeping our border secure and pushing back against the flood of misguided policies pouring out of Washington.
"I hope that our success has earned the confidence of Texas voters and that they will continue supporting me in leading our state with hard work, innovation and careful fiscal stewardship."
Check out gubernatorial facts, reported by our team during the debate, along with corrections to misinformation presented by the other candidates, here.
Construction of a Grifols plasma research and testing facility began last Friday at River Ridge Business Park in San Marcos, with state and local officials presiding.
It is expected that the facility will open in about a year. Workers at the 72,000 square-foot facility will test and process human blood plasma, from which they will produce the initial components of products for use in the treatment shock, trauma and burns, primary immune deficiency diseases, and bleeding disorders such as hemophilia and Von Willebrand disease.
“The City of San Marcos is proud to have helped bring the first local health care manufacturing facility of this type to the state of Texas,” said San Marcos Mayor Susan Narvaiz. “This project represents a significant partnership with Grifols, the city, the State of Texas, and Hays County.”
The city will refund Grifols, a Spain-based company, $1.8 million in personal property taxes in the next 15 years. The county will refund $2.1 million in personal property taxes to Grifols during the same period.
Narvaiz said Grifols will invest “some $76 million” in its San Marcos facility and bring 190 jobs to the city. Texas Governor Rick Perry announced in July that the state will invest $500,000 in Enterprise Institute Fund money in the Grifols facility.
“The (Grifols) CEO also acknowledged that there really are going to be more than 190 full-time positions and that the (total funds) they are investing is actually going to be more than $76 million,” said Hays County Commissioner Precinct 1 (D-San Marcos) Debbie Ingalsbe.
Grifols is expected to pay an average salary of $38,571. Median household income in the city during the last US census was $25,809.
“It’s just going to be a great opportunity for…our region to have those types of jobs, with the great salaries and benefits that will come,” said Ingalsbe. “With (Texas State) university here, that’s just a great opportunity for a great partnership there, and for students to have a place where they can come in and have a good job….”
Grifols Vice President of Government and Public Affairs Christopher Healey said there is no formal relationship between his company and Texas State University at this time.
“We don’t have anything firm just now … but I can certainly foresee some kind of mutually-beneficial working relationship in the future,” Healey said.
The blood plasma will arrive at the San Marcos Grifols facility from plasma donation centers, of which the company owns and operates 17 in Texas. Healey said the Grifols owns and operates 80 plasma donation centers across the country, the closest of which is in San Antonio.
Healey said his company expects local residents to receive many of the jobs that will be created by the facility.
“We’ll be advertising locally and doing job placement locally — as we currently do, as a matter of fact,” Healey said.
...the oil-and-gas state has nonetheless emerged as the nation’s top producer of a commodity prized by environmentalists: wind power. Eager developers are covering its desolate western mesas with giant turbines. The world’s largest wind farm began operations in Texas this month, and the state now has close to three times as much wind capacity as Iowa, the second-ranked state.
This achievement puts Mr. Perry’s state in odd company. The race for clean-energy leadership is on — and big red Texas is going head-to-head with the gung-ho greens of California. That state has thrown itself into solar power and now leads the nation by a huge margin; it has also aggressively pursued energy efficiency.
In the absence of sustained federal action to support clean energy and fight climate change, Texas and California are serving as important policy laboratories. Now, as the United States Senate considers the best ways to accelerate the use of renewable technologies — with the full support of the Obama administration — lawmakers might do well to look at those states.
“These policies we come up with will last for decades, and we want/need to make sure policy makers think it through and realize that there are several paths to success,” Michael Webber, associate director of the Center for International Energy and Environmental Policy at the University of Texas, wrote in an e-mail message.
Texas’s secret, besides strong winds and lots of land, is its lack of regulation. Wind developers rave about the fact that, in essence, they need few state permits to build a turbine farm. They deal mainly with local officials, who are generally permissive (energy, after all, is a well-loved commodity in Texas)...
The Obama administration wants to spend $25 million to figure out best practices in tort reform. A better idea would be to save the money and just adopt what Texas did six years ago to solve its medical malpractice lawsuit overabundance.
Tort reform is a term commonly used by the media, people at town hall meetings and now President Obama, but it is not clear whether everyone is referring to the same thing. Tort reform means eliminating frivolous lawsuits against physicians and hospitals.
The Texas Legislature in 2003 adopted sweeping changes to its civil justice system that significantly altered when, where and how many lawsuits could be filed. In the medical malpractice area, those reforms were basically threefold.
First, to sustain a lawsuit against the medical care provider, an expert report was required within 120 days of filing the suit stating that the doctor being sued committed a medical error that caused injuries.
Prior to 2003, such reports were left to the discretion of the judge handling the case. The Legislature made it mandatory and defined an expert to be someone actually practicing medicine in the same field as the doctor being sued, or a similar field.
The effect of this simple reform has been to discourage many frivolous lawsuits. Previously, a litigant could simply bring a lawsuit without any medical evidence to support the suit. Doctors were then forced to defend themselves in court at an average cost of more than $50,000 per suit. With one in five doctors being sued each year, the expense of frivolous suits was staggering.
Second, noneconomic damages were capped to control arbitrary awards on pain and suffering or loss of consortium. Though 30 states now have a cap on noneconomic damages, noneconomic damages now make up more than two-thirds of jury verdicts.
The Texas cap only applies to those damages that are not capable of an objective value, letting claimants still receive full compensation for out-of-pocket expenses, medical expenses, lost income and future expenses.
The combination of prohibiting doctors and health care providers from being exposed to unlimited and arbitrary awards, and requiring an actual medical report at the outset, have cut the number of medical malpractice lawsuits in Texas in half.
The third significant tort reform was to prohibit the introduction into evidence of phantom damages. The Texas rule of evidence, which previously allowed for the recovery of "reasonable and necessary" medical expenses, was being misused. The actual expenses were often much less than the billed charges, in the same way that no one pays the manufacturer's suggested retail price of an automobile.
Accordingly, the legislature changed the law to require that the damages are to be the actual expenses "paid or incurred" by the claimant. With the elimination of phantom damages, the law now requires the actual cost associated with any medical mistake be reimbursed.
These common-sense reforms have led to a massive increase in the accessibility of health care in Texas, huge growth in the capital infrastructure of hospitals and clinics, hundreds of millions of dollars more each year in charity care and Texas' adding more than 16,000 new doctors in just six years.
And in reducing the actual number of suits to those in which claims are meritorious — a recent Harvard study concluded that up to 85% of all lawsuits brought against medical providers were frivolous — we have created a more equitable system of justice.
So when people speak of tort reform, know that the effective reforms they should be talking about include expert reports, a cap on noneconomic damages and truth in expenses. These common-sense reforms are what have helped Texas bring fairness to its civil justice system.
President Obama, save our money. Follow Texas' lead.
• Nixon, an attorney, served six terms in the Texas House of Representatives, where he chaired the Committee on Civil Practices his last two terms. Considered the architect of Texas' medical malpractice reforms, he is now a senior fellow at the Texas Public Policy Foundation.
Tucked away in an anonymous Southeast Austin business park, scientists at HeatGenie Inc. are developing technology that heats soup with the push of a button to activate a warming element in the can — no stove or microwave needed.
In a laboratory in Cedar Park, Mystic Pharmaceuticals researchers are designing devices to deliver drugs through mists sprayed in the nose or eyes, a more precise method than drops for diseases such as glaucoma.
And at the Hornsby Bend wastewater treatment facility in East Austin, Sunrise Ridge Algae Inc. is testing ways to use algae to create renewable fuel.
Their work is far-ranging, but the three have one thing in common: Money paying their salaries and funding their research has come from the Texas Emerging Technology Fund, which invests state money in promising startups in cutting-edge fields such as biotechnology, robotics and clean energy.
The Legislature started the fund in 2005 to support advanced research at Texas universities and speed the commercialization of that research to create companies and high-quality jobs.
So far, Central Texas has scored big, with 20 companies taking in about $28 million of the $110 million the state has invested in 88 companies. Another nine area companies are in the pipeline to receive more than $20 million in funding, according to officials.
As the region continues to be rocked by recession — with venture capital investment slowing and unemployment rising — the state money is supporting Austin's unique population of creators and inventors while seeding a crop of companies that might produce some home runs in the future.
"At a time when it's hard to get bank loans or raise money on Wall Street and the venture capitalists are in hiding, this money is keeping the dream alive," said Bud Weinstein, an economist with the Cox School of Business at Southern Methodist University. "ETF represents a fairly modest investment by the State of Texas into companies that may one day yield significant payoffs in terms of new jobs and revenue for state and local governments as successful companies become taxpayers."
Austin's list of fund winners offers a glimpse into the intriguing mix of promising ideas. Among them:
• Terapio Corp. received $1.7 million to create a cream to treat hand-foot syndrome, a painful swelling and numbness of the hands and feet that can occur as a side effect of several chemotherapy drugs.
• Merkatum raised $1 million for fingerprint and facial recognition identity technologies.
• Agile Planet is using $1 million to create more responsive and intelligent robots.
"These startups represent the next generation of high-tech innovation, and this funding is crucial to helping them push forward," said Susan Davenport, vice president of business retention and expansion at the Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce. "Without this funding, some very promising entrepreneurial companies might wither on the vine."
In return for the money, the state gets an equity stake in the company, but entrepreneurs say they give up far less ownership than they would with a venture capital investor. If the company eventually is acquired or goes public, the state gets a share of the return. If the company goes bust, the state is out its investment.
"There will be some winners, and there will be some losers," Weinstein said. "But in today's economic climate, when so much is shut down, ETF is helping small companies get started, and it's helping them to keep going."
Monebo Technologies CEO Dale Misczynski says his company, which makes wireless heart monitors, would have folded if not for the $500,000 grant it received three years ago. The company used seed money from its founders to develop its product, called Cardiobelt, which lets users obtain their own electrocardiogram while at home and wirelessly transmits the information to a doctor.
"We were in a very difficult position, because we needed funding to take our product to market, but most venture capitalists don't care to invest until you've got customers," he says. "ETF carried us through until we could get our first customer orders. It was the bridge we needed to survive."
Although Monebo has only six full-time employees, the company is already creating a ripple effect: It manufactures the Cardiobelt in Bastrop, and the device is being used by patients in the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany and China.
Misczynski is bullish about his company's future. "According to our plan, five years from now, we should be a $50 million company," he said.
The Legislature created the fund at the request of Gov. Rick Perry, starting with a $200 million allocation, and has renewed it twice. Since 2006, aside from grants to companies, the fund has given money to researchers and initiatives at the University of Texas, Texas State and other schools, and it helped the state attract top research talent.
"We're looking for the technologies that could be game changers," said fund director Alan Kirchhoff. "There is so much intellectual property at universities, or people's garages or inside companies. We're getting it into the hands of entrepreneurs and providing the capital to turn it into something."
Because most companies that have received money are still in the very early stages of development, Kirchhoff said, it's too soon to place bets on the investments.
"They could become the next Google, or they may not. That's part of the risk," Kirchhoff said. "If these companies are successful, the State of Texas, which put the riskiest early-stage money in, will get a return back."
So far, one company — Austin-based NanoCoolers Inc., which received $3 million to develop a semiconductor cooling device — has failed. It's a given that there will be others; that's the nature of investing in unproven, out-of-the-box ideas.
Keeping jobs in Texas isn't a sure thing, either. Although fund recipients must agree to remain in Texas, that's no guarantee that they'll expand here, as demonstrated recently by Xtreme Power, a 5-year-old green energy company based in Kyle, which has received $2 million in fund money.
In August, the company announced it would build a manufacturing plant for its power-storage systems in Wixom, Mich., northwest of Detroit, with the help of a state incentive package estimated to be worth more than $200 million.
Although Texas officials had lobbied the company to expand here, Austin attorney Pike Powers said that Texas could not compete with the size of Michigan's incentive offer.
Michigan officials say Xtreme might hire as many as 2,500 workers between late 2011 and 2014.
Xtreme is keeping its headquarters in Kyle. Because the company already had fulfilled the commitments it made to receive the technology fund grant, it faces no penalties.
Another Austin grant recipient, Molecular Imprints, is considered a candidate to become a home run.
The 125-employee company uses nanotechnology to develop advanced, extremely precise tools for the semiconductor and other industries. It has received $3 million from the fund. During its eight year life, it has raised a total of $90 million in backing. Executives say they expect record sales of $25 million this year, up about 50 percent from last year, and there is the promise of more growth in the next several years.
The money isn't meant to provide long-term sustenance for startups. Awards to Central Texas companies have ranged from $500,000 to $3.5 million. That's small by most venture capital standards, but the amount can be make-or-break for companies still deep in research.
"These are companies with real science, and as a result it's really tough to go out and get funding in the early days," said Paul Tobias, an attorney with Wilson Sonsini in Austin who works with startups. "Private investors will look for more progress and a demonstration, or even customers, before making an investment, so ETF really bridges a gap. It allows a company to add that one expert who can really push them forward or buy that piece of equipment that they wouldn't otherwise be able to afford."
HeatGenie founder Brendan Coffey's original laboratory was his two-car garage in Southwest Austin, where he spent nights and weekends developing energy storage technology for self-heating food packaging.
When the fund awarded the company $250,000 last November, Coffey, a battery industry veteran, was able to move to a formal facility and focus on HeatGenie full time.
The company recently received another $500,000 from the fund, as well as a $100,000 grant from the National Science Foundation, which allows the company to pay salaries for five full-time employees.
The company has had promising meetings with global food and beverage companies about partnerships, Coffey said. It recently added Dan Costello, former Nestle executive and now CEO of Austin-based Sweet Leaf Tea, to its advisory board.
Without the fund money, Coffey said, HeatGenie would not have been able to move forward so quickly.
"It really was a leap of faith on their part," Coffey said. "Now we want to be a success story, so we can help generate investment for the next round of entrepreneurs."
Central Texas recipients of Texas Emerging Technology Fund money
These Central Texas companies have received funding:
Agile Planet Combining standard factory controls with innovative software $1 million
to enable safe human-robot collaboration
AnaLogix Development Corp. Natural movement 3-D game controller for PC and gaming markets $1 million
Faradox Energy Storage Inc. New fabrication process for high-performance electrical capacitors $1 million
HeatGenie Technology for self-heating food packaging $1 million*
Image Trends Image correction and enhancement products $1 million
for commercial and amateur photographers
Merkatum Fingerprint and facial recognition identity technologies $1 million
Molecular Imprints Advanced technology for the makers of computer chips and disk drives $3 million
Monebo Technologies Heart monitoring device that enables users to obtain $500,000
their own electrocardiogram
Mystic Pharmaceuticals Devices to let patients self-administer precision doses of drugs $1.56 million
NanoCoolers** Thermoelectric cooling system to help cool semiconductors $3 million
NanoMedical Systems Tiny implantable capsules that deliver drugs a few molecules at a time $3.5 million
Quantum Logic Devices Using single-electron devices to analyze DNA, $600,000
protein and other molecular interactions
Receptor Logic Developing antibodies to improve understanding $2 million
of the immune system to lead to better drugs and vaccines
RF Micron Microchips that act as wireless bar codes for shipping items globally $1 million
Smooth Stone Inc. Using technology developed for cell phones to cut data center power use $1 million
Stellarray Flat-panel radiation source technology $750,000
Sunrise Ridge Algae Inc. Technology to turn algae into biofuels $1 million
Terapio Corp. Cream to treat hand-foot syndrome $1.7 million
Xtreme Power Power storage and management systems to cut $2 million
energy bills for large-scale users
Xitronix Advanced semiconductor testing technology $500,000
* Maximum grant over time **Closed in 2007
Source: Central Texas Regional Center of Innovation and Commercialization
How the Emerging Technology Fund works
The process is highly competitive — about 10 percent of Central Texas applicants win grants — and can take nine months to a year.
Criteria: Companies must have a tie to a Texas public or private university. A substantial percentage of any new or expanded manufacturing arising from the grant must be in Texas. Companies must meet certain milestones to continue receiving allocations.
Who decides: Austin companies apply to the Central Texas Regional Center for Innovation and Commercialization. The center vets applications and then forwards qualified ones to a 17-member state advisory committee.
Final approval requires the unanimous consent of the governor, lieutenant governor and speaker of the Texas House.
Monitoring:The governor's office checks up on the companies to determine if they are meeting the terms of their grant.
CORPUS CHRISTI — Gov. Rick Perry, in town for a Nueces County Republican Women’s fund-raiser, spoke in favor of fiscal conservatism and stemming the flow of undocumented immigrants into the country.
Perry criticized the federal government for bailing out failing businesses and banks.
“You can’t spend your way to prosperity,” Perry said.
Perry also promised to loud applause that he will push for a new voter identification billsimilar to one that failed in the Legislature earlier this year. It would require voters to show a picture ID to vote.
Republicans say it would reduce voter fraud. Democrats say it would suppress voter turnout, particularly among minorities.
Hiding his taxes, facing an ethics complaint, and celebrating Obamacare with other liberal trial lawyers
Day 18 of liberal trial lawyer Bill White refusing to release his income taxes is also the eve of Vice President Joe Biden’s visit to Dallas to attend a Democratic fundraiser at the home of another trial lawyer. White would obviously be welcome at the event where they will be celebrating the passage of Obamacare which White supports, rarely comments on, and always avoids talking about with the media.
“Supporting Obamacare is not the only thing that Vice President Biden and Shady Bill White have in common. The Vice President used foul language recently and Bill White fouled up his ethics report and Houston’s budget,” said Texans for Rick Perry spokesman Mark Miner. “Bill White, facing an ethics complaint, continues to hide his taxes. What is he afraid of? What other shady business dealings is he covering up? Maybe Vice President Biden can advise Bill White to come clean and release his taxes for his time in public service.”
White’s secret $83,677 from Wedge Group in 2009 revealed in tax returns after being omitted from personal financial statement
Liberal trial lawyer and shady businessman Bill White is playing shell games with his money in another deceitful attempt to hide his outside income from the people of Texas.
In his 2009 income tax returns, which White begrudgingly released last week, it was revealed that he earned $83,677 in wages from Wedge Services, LCC in 2009. Though White omitted these wages from the 2009 personal financial statement he filed with the Texas Ethics Commission, he is now claiming he received this payment through stocks and mutual funds despite reporting the $83,677 as wages to the Internal Revenue Service.
One of the world's largest oilfield services companies continued to tell U.S. EPA it was complying with an agreement barring the injection of diesel fuel near drinking-water aquifers, documents show, after admitting to Congress that it had violated the pact.
BJ Services Co. acknowledged in January 2008 to investigators from the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee that it had violated a 2003 agreement not to use diesel in specific types of hydraulic fracturing. When that was disclosed last month, a BJ Services executive said that the company had "self reported" the violation to EPA.
Day 16: Liberal Trial Lawyer Bill White Refuses to Release Income Taxes
Statement from Texans for Rick Perry Spokesman Mark Miner Regarding Ethics Complaint Filed Against Former Houston <a href="http://www.liberalbill.com/" target="_blank">Mayor Bill White</a>:
"By filing a false and misleading ethics report that is punishable by civil and criminal penalties, Bill White lied to the people of Texas about his finances. His failure to report earnings from his shady business dealings are another example of why he should release all of his income taxes for his years in public service. Bill White continues to dodge questions about his shady business dealings, and today’s revelation that he failed to report income on his state ethics report is further reason he should come clean and release his income taxes. It’s time for Bill White to be open and honest with the people of Texas.”
Records prove that White lied when he said received no compensation from Wedge Group while mayor
On Day 15 of former Houston Mayor Bill White refusing to release his income tax returns, additional questions continue to arise from his deceitful attempt to hide his outside income from the people of Texas.
“After saying he received no compensation from Wedge Group while serving as mayor of Houston, it has been uncovered that Bill White actually received more than $83,000 from the company during his final year in the mayor’s office,” said Texans for Rick Perry spokesman Mark Miner.