NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - Injecting the economy with more jobs and expansion is a tall task for any governmental agency. While a lot of the burden does fall on the shoulders of a local or regional leaders, economic success also relies on our state government.
In a one-on-one interview, Governor Greg Abbott detailed his projections for the next three years not only for the state, but Deep East Texas as well.
In his visit to Nacogdoches, Abbott carved out time to explain the health of the economy as it is now and where it's headed.
Abbott said that his economic development office is working on half a dozen projects and designating six areas called opportunity zones as a by product of the federal tax reform.
"There are six opportunity zones in Nacogdoches, there are six opportunity zones in Lufkin. Those will provide a great opportunity for tremendous economy injection and growth," Abbott said.
Meaning, Abbott said that these opportunity zones provide a federal tax credit so that investors don't have to pay taxes on capital gains if they invest that money in those physical areas labeled as opportunity zones, areas which were submitted by local governments.
"The U.S Treasury gave the government of each state the ability to designate certain opportunity zones which are physical geographical regions within Nacogdoches, within Lufkin, within other areas of the state. And in those zones investors can come in, make and investment, tax-free and create new jobs, new business in those areas," Abbott said.
Across Texas, there are 628 tracts in 145 counties as opportunity zones.
Going forward, Abbott said he plans to continue the economic momentum, as his office is partnering with universities and schools to teach news skills, to not only unemployed workers, but also the incoming job force.
"For some there maybe some workers with skills that may not be applicable to the new jobs and hence we're working with Stephen F. Austin, with Angelina College, with high schools to make sure that we are developing the skill sets that the employers need and that includes working with the Texas Workforce Commission for re-training and prepare for the new jobs," Abbott said.
Abbott said he aims to foster a pro-business climate that allows entrepreneurs and job creators to succeed.
In addition to economic growth, the governor said in his next legislative session he plans to increase teacher salaries and provide additional benefits to educators.