ON-Lion Letter
"Texas's spectacular growth is largely a story of its cities -- especially of Austin, Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston, and San Antonio," begins an article by Aaron M. Renn in a special "Texas Rising 2016" issue of City Journal, published by the Manhattan Institute in New York City.  "These Big Four metropolitan areas, arranged in a layout known as the 'Texas Triangle,' contain two-thirds of the state's population and an even higher share of its jobs.  Nationally, the four metros, which combined make up less than 6 percent of the American population, posted job growth equivalent to 30 percent of the United States' total since the financial crash in 2007.  Within Texas, they've accounted for almost 80 percent of the state's population growth since 2000 and over 75 percent of its job growth. Meantime, a third of Texas counties, mostly rural, have actually been losing population."

Renn is a senior fellow of the Manhattan Institute and a contributing editor of its City Journal.  The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation in Milwaukee substantially supports the Manhattan Institute.

"Texas is sometimes described as the new California, an apt parallel in terms of the states' respective urban geographies," Renn continues in "Lone Star Quartet."  "Neither state is dominated by a single large city; each has four urban areas of more than 1 million people, with two of these among the largest regions in the United States.  In both states, these major regions are demographically and economically distinct.

"But unlike California, whose cities have refocused on elite priorities at the expense of middle-class occupations, Texas offers a complete spectrum of economic activities in its metros," he continues.  "Another key difference is that Texas cities have mostly embraced pro-development policies that have kept them affordable by allowing housing supply to expand with population, while California's housing prices blasted into the stratosphere due to severe development restrictions.  Texas cities also benefit from favorable state policies, such as the absence of a state income tax and a reasonable regulatory and litigation environment.  These factors make Texas cities today what California's used to be:  places to go in search of the American dream."
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