NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - There are few words of reassurance for Texans out of work due to the slump in oil and gas prices.
In Nacogdoches, State Comptroller Glenn Hegar said about a third of the energy companies will go bankrupt by mid-year. Another third will disappear over time.
East Texas News paid a visit to Thursday's Lone Star Legislative Summit and found out what's being done to help Texas remain competitive in the business world.
The Stephen F. Austin State University Student Center hallways were buzzing with dozens of visitors. Most of them swarm the state capitol during a legislative year. State Representative Travis Clardy (R-Nacogdoches) invited them here to discuss the people's business.
"Health care, education, economic development," Clardy said.
Economic panelist State Representative (R-Houston) Jim Murphy began by asking pertinent questions.
"How do we maintain our position as the 12th largest economy in the world?" Murphy asked. "How do we maintain that position as being the number one destination for Fortune 500 companies, but not just Fortune 500 companies, but small business?"
The conclusion is to remain competitive, not only worldwide, but with neighboring states.
Representative Chris Paddie (R-Marshall) names Louisiana as the biggest competitor for East Texas.
"We do have to recognize we are competing with these neighboring states and so we need to have tools in our tool box to be able to do that," Paddie said.
Tax incentives and qualified workers are the most used tools. Despite significantly lower sales tax returns, Comptroller Glenn Hager said personal income is $29 billion in East Texas.
"Think about that. If you carved this out as one of the 50 states it would be 49th ranked out of the 50 for personal income," Hegar said. "And so little East Texas is a significant portion of the state economy. A lot of times people miss that."
Missing it the most are the ones wanting work, but can't find it.
The Lone Star Legislative Summit adjourned Thursday afternoon following a panel discussion on Texas music
Many of the participants are staying over to attend opening performances of the Nacogdoches Music Festival.