Cleaning up coal not greenest option, but key for energy diversity

Balancing economic feasibility, shareholder value, regulatory necessity and social responsibility is something that business leaders do every day. Striking the right balance requires creativity and compromise, and no sector faces more challenges than electricity generation. If a power plant produces too much pollution, we suffer health consequences. If the cost is too high, we suffer […]

Time for an overhaul, possible elimination, of state incentives

Is it a business incentive or corporate welfare, a tax break or a tax giveaway, an enterprise fund or a slush fund? The debate over spending taxpayer money to benefit private businesses is the subject of intense debate as cities, states and even countries compete for jobs and investment. Texas lawmakers have begun examining the […]

Asian steel in the oil fields cost Texans jobs

When most people see a flatbed truck loaded with drill pipe rolling west on Interstate 10, it’s a reminder of the thousands of oil and gas wells that are driving the booming Texas economy. When steelworkers in Bellville see those trucks, though, they’re reminded why their plant, which makes similar pipe 60 miles west of […]

Texas Businesses Need Immigration Reform Now

The legal entanglements of 50,000 children entering the United States illegally this summer may have highlighted our broken immigration system, but Texas businesses are warning that Congress’ failure to pass comprehensive immigration reforms could create a bigger long-term economic crisis. Leaders in Houston’s manufacturing, construction and agriculture industries joined colleagues in 40 other cities across […]

Export-Import Bank Creates Jobs, Opens Markets and Makes Sense

Greater Houston is the No. 1 exporting metropolitan area and Texas is the nation’s No. 1 exporting state, but that could end if some ideologues in Washington get their way. After campaigning on adding jobs and increasing manufacturing, folks calling themselves conservatives want to shut down an 80-year-old institution that boosts exports, generates business for […]

Conservation Efforts are Best handled Locally

Here’s a little-known fact about species proposed for federal protection: They are everywhere. They are in every Texas county, all but two Texas rivers and are found above ground, underground and in the water and the air. Susan Combs, the state comptroller, told me her team has totaled 129 so far, 12 of which are […]

Missing the Boat on Africa

As a citizen of the globe’s economic and military heavyweight, it’s easy to forget that other parts of the world might be getting along just fine without us. When we pull back, though, and take a look at current trends in global trade, U.S. business may be missing out in the developing world. China, the […]

Business Solution Can Ease Problem of the Under-banked

Providing financial services to the poor and credit-challenged is big money in America, generating $89 billion a year in fees and interest. But companies that once eschewed these customers are seeing the chance to profit, while potentially improving people’s lives. Houston happens to be one of the three most “under-banked” cities in America, and Texas […]

Hospital Reforms Are Not Enough to Solve Texas’ Uninsured Problem

Public and private health systems are transforming the way they provide care, but early results show it won’t be enough to address the needs of Texas’ uninsured. You’ve heard of the uninsured, the folks who go to the emergency room because they don’t have health insurance? The ones who then can’t afford to pay the […]

How to Spot a Real Estate Bubble, or Why I’m Comfortable Buying in Houston

The real estate market is tight, believe me, I’ve been looking for a place. Inventory is low, and prices are relatively high. Some properties I’ve looked at within Loop 610 have appreciated 50 percent in the last two years. The average price of a single-family home increased 7 percent from April 2013 to April 2014, […]