LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - The Texas comptroller stopped in East Texas today during his Good for Texas tour, a 27-city, two-month tour around Texas to discuss the economic future of the state as well as the future ahead of us right here in the Pineywoods.
"Understanding where we are today, helps ensure us we remain prosperous tomorrow," said Glenn Hegar, Texas Comptroller. "The state's economy is more diverse than it used to be in 1980s."
Texas's treasurer, revenue estimator, and comptroller said Tuesday he was ready to discuss both successes and challenges in East Texas economy.
"One side it's good. One side it's bad. It depends on what perspective you look at it," Hegar said.
When Hegar asked those in attendance their concerns about East Texas, the first to speak questioned changes after GE layoffs.
"The fact is the growth rate has been substantially less than the metropolitan areas," Hegar said.
Hegar said the recent layoffs are offset by other positives the area has to offer.
"East Texas has lower cost of living, is plentiful in water resources compared to as you move further out left, and has good opportunities for import/export," Hegar said.
The next issue is East Texas' need for healthcare.
"East Texas has a slightly higher age demographic than other parts of the state," Hegar said.
Hegar said many East Texans are moving out of the workforce and into retirement.
"What does that mean? You have higher need for healthcare, and it's almost ironic going in the opposite direction," Hegar said.
He says the solution to this issue will be long term, but despite these issues, when you look across the state ...
"Every region has its different strengths and issues that it has to deal with," Hegar said.
East Texas is holding its own.
Hegar said he projects the state as a whole will continue with its prosperous economy. According to Hegar, 650 people are moving to Texas every day.