New Strategies for Growth: A Report to the Texas Industrial Commission
Texas Research League
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The Texas Industrial Commission was established by the Legislature in 1920 as a mechanism for settling labor disputes - a function which it has never performed. In 1957, the Commission was given the "additional duties" of planning, organizing and operating a program for attracting and locating new industries in the State of Texas. In 1959 the Legislature elaborated on the manner in which the Industrial Commission's new duties were to be performed and enlarged its responsibilities to include "protecting the legitimate interest and welfare of Texas business, industry, agriculture and commerce," and aiding various communities "in getting business to locate therein." Since the League last study for TIC in 1968, the State's leaders have begun to focus on Texas' overall long-range goals, as reflected in a speech to the Texas Municipal League by Governor Preston Smith on October 4, 1971. He said in part: "We seek to preserve the quality of the environment, improve the individual opportunities, enhance community development, and strengthen local government. [We have] stressed...the need for balanced urban development.... [We believe] that incentinves must be established for business and industry to locate in areas where they are needed, and not in areas where they would contribute to unwanted congestion and the demands on the environment." This statement tends to put industrial development into a broad context of public policy - one in which the State would undertake to exercise a role in influencing the nature and location of private investments. Such a goal can only be effectively implemented by legislative action, and the nature of the action required has not yet been seriously discussed in Texas. If such a goal should become public policy in Texas, then the function of the TIC would be to enhance the competitive position of Texas relative to other states while working within this broader context. This is not now the function of TIC, and this report, therefore, concentrates on the effective dispatch of those functions clearly assigned to the Commission.