OP ED
From the Office of State Senator Troy Fraser

For Immediate Release
March 1, 2002
Contact: William A. Scott - (512) 463-0124

Tale of theTexas Tape: How We Stack Up Against Other States in Key Area

By Senator Troy Fraser

Texas is famous for a lot of things, but a few traits come to mind right away: great barbeque, great country music, a big-time devotion to football (at all levels), and, of course, the Texas-sized pride that we show in our state.

But to gauge how the Lone Star State really ranks against the other 49 states, the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts compiles comparative facts and figures on a variety of important issues like agriculture, business and industry, criminal justice, education, transportation and government spending in recent years.

The results of the report, "Texas: Where We Stand," show that we have a right to be proud in many areas, but, as might be expected, there is room for improvement in others.

Not surprising is that Texas ranked number one in the production of crude oil, marketed natural gas, farm income from livestock, and the number of insured commercial banks. We are also first in the number of bridges with 47,886, but unfortunately, also in the number of "deficient bridges" at 10,378.

We also have the dubious distinction of being atop the list in the number of tornados from 1950-1999, with a total of 6,336, although we can hardly be blamed for that.

Texas ranks second in several categories, including population with 20.8 million people (only behind California), but we are number one in population of non-metropolitan areas with 3.1 million, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

We are also second in the size of the employed civilian labor force, with 9.8 million workers, and the percentage of decrease (44 percent) in food stamp program participation.

Categories -- all positive -- in which we ranked as third best: Gross State Product at $687.3 billion; total acres planted, with 23.3 million; and the percentage of change in public high school graduates, with 23.9 percent.

Three areas in which we ranked dead last: per capita state government revenue at $2,926; per capita state government expenditures at $2,584; and the average monthly benefit per participant in the Women, Infant and Children Program at $26.12.

In between the best and worst, you'll find that Texas ranks:

Although these and other statistics compiled by the Comptroller's Office provide only a snapshot, the report provides readers with some hard data for a fairly wide spectrum of indicators.

For further information, or a complete copy of the report, please call the Texas Comptroller's Office at 1-800-531-5441 or go to www.window.state.tx.us/comptrol/wwstand/wwstand.html

State Senator Troy Fraser, R-Horseshoe Bay, represents a 21-county district that includes the Highland Lakes region

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