Gov. Rick Perry

Gov. Rick Perry visits with David Jones of Belltech Industries in Belton on Wednesday, July 17, 2013, at the Bell County Expo Center in Belton. Perry gave a speech on economic health at a luncheon hosted by the Texas Association of Business-Central Texas Chapter.

Michael Miller | FME News Service

BELTON — Introduced as a friend of business, Gov. Rick Perry touted his pro-business legacy and the state’s economic health in a speech Wednesday at the Bell County Expo Center.

At the luncheon hosted by the Texas Association of Business-Central Texas Chapter, Perry focused on his work promoting the state’s economy, such as his frequent trips to other states to recruit businesses to Texas, as well as his belief in keeping taxes low, even when doing so leads to controversial budget cuts of state programs, such as education.

Perry called the business template in Texas “the most freedom-giving blueprint, if you will, for this country,” citing an unattributed statistic that 30 percent of all new jobs created in the U.S. over the past decade were in Texas.

News that ESPN decided to relocate its annual extreme sports competition — known as the X Games — from Los Angeles to Austin for the next three years was only the latest example of how a pro-business approach can benefit a state, he said.

“What’s happening in our state now is being observed in the world,” he said.

Texas is reaping the benefit of a “dynamic landscape” in state commerce. No longer an oil-and-gas-dependent state, Texas has diversified, boasting the largest medical center in the world, innovative technology sectors, even a Formula 1 racetrack.

“The image of this state has truly changed over the last 10 years,” he said.

The “disciplined and principled” approach of Texas legislators helped foster the growing diversity in the state, Perry said.

“It didn’t happen by accident,” he said.

Promoting a good business climate is the most important thing a governor can do, more so than focusing on education, health care and public safety, Perry said, because tax revenue pays for those services.

And a healthy economy is expected to last even as he departs as governor, thanks to the capitalistic spirit of Texans: “There’s no better resource than the men and women of this state,” he said.

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