Texas’s top economic development official will target investments from companies focused on electric vehicles, batteries and outer space this year as the state looks to break another record for corporate relocations.
Adriana Cruz, the executive director of economic development and tourism in Governor Greg Abbott’s office, said high-tech manufacturing is a priority for the Lone Star State. She cited a track record of major investments in Texas over the past couple of years, namely Tesla Inc.’s $1 billion Gigafactory near Austin, Samsung Electronic Co.’s $17 billion chip plant near Taylor and Texas Instruments Inc.’s $30 billion manufacturing site in North Texas.
“These new and emerging industries — electric vehicles, battery manufacturing — that’s been a trend, that’s something we are going to focus on,” Cruz said during an interview Tuesday at her office in downtown Austin. Another goal is companies within the aerospace industry like SpaceX and Blue Origin, which already operate in Texas, she said.
Cruz, who has been in her post since 2019, is seeking to build on a string of successes in Texas that created one of the nation’s fastest growing economies. But challenges remain, including concerns that soaring home costs in cities including Austin will erode the state’s appeal. And there are also robust efforts by other states to lure business. In December, Texas lost out on its efforts to persuade Rivian Automotive Inc. to build an assembly and battery plant outside Fort Worth. Instead, the electric truck startup chose Georgia.
New development opportunities are cropping up, though, with the Austin Business Journal reporting this month that Micron Technology Inc. is eyeing the area for a $40 billion chip plant.
Businesses have been attracted to Texas by the lack of a state income tax, fewer regulatory burdens, the relatively low cost of living and a robust supply of labor. A record 73 companies announced they were moving their headquarters to the state in 2021, and Cruz said she’s hopeful she can top that this year.
“We are working on it,” she said.
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