(Nov. 4, 2010)--The UTSA Institute for Economic Development hosted Joe Straus, speaker of the Texas House of Representatives, on Friday, Oct. 29 at the UTSA Downtown Campus for a roundtable discussion with more than 50 local small-business owners and business leaders.
UTSA President Ricardo Romo and Secretary of State Hope Andrade also particated in the dialogue that centered on concerns about the health of the Texas economy and ways the Legislature could help spur business growth. As state government faces significant budget challenges, Straus asked for input on issues to help small businesses grow and lead to an economic turnaround.
"Small business is the real economic driver in Texas," said Straus during his opening remarks to an audience that included representatives from the city's chambers of commerce, San Antonio Manufacturing Association and the National Federation of Independent Business.
"We are blessed with low taxes, fair regulations, an entrepreneurial spirit and the Texas value of self-reliance," Straus said. "The best thing that the government can do to grow our economy is to get out of the way."
The advice to Texas' legislative leaders ranged from keeping taxes low to the need for an educated workforce and improving access to capital. All agreed that despite the lingering national recession, Texas leads the country with a healthy and productive economy.
Concerns raised included the gross margins tax, which C.P.A. Johnny Lovejoy suggested should be based on small business profits and the ability to pay. InGenesis CEO Veronica Edwards stressed the need for skilled labor and health-care technician training. Clint Plant, owner of the E.P.M.P. sheet metal fabrication firm, voiced concerns about the current burdens placed on employers by the unemployment claims system.
ACCION Texas CEO Janie Barrera sought state support for microloans, and other panelists expressed the need for more bank lending and state incentives to fund high-growth local businesses, along with attracting out-of-state corporations to Texas.
"Small business is big business in Texas," said Andrade, who was a successful small business entrepreneur for more than three decades.
"State policies can make a huge difference for small-business success," said Robert McKinley, associate vice president of the UTSA Institute for Economic Development. "We are pleased we could host this roundtable discussion to bring together important voices in the small-business and legislative communities."
UTSA's business development programs provided consulting, training and research for 32,000 small and medium-sized businesses last year across South Texas, assisting them access $112 million in growth capital and expand revenues by $685 million, leading to the creation of 3,200 new jobs.
Dr. Gaye Theresa Johnson, associate professor of Chicana and Chicano Studies, and African American Studies, at the University of California at Los Angeles is the guest speaker at this free, open event. Johnson is also the author of "Spaces of Conflict Sounds of Solidarity: Music, Race, and Spacial Entitlement in Los Angeles" and "Futures of Black Radicalism."
University Center, Denman Room (UC 02.01.28), Main Campus
The UTSA Consortium for Social Transformation; African American Studies Program presents guest speaker Dr. Gaye Theresa Johnson, associate professor of Chicana and Chicano Studies, and African American Studies, University of California at Los Angelesand author of "Spaces of Conflict Sounds of Solidarity: Music, Race, and Spacial Entitlement in Los Angeles" and "Futures of Black Radicalism." The event is free and open to the public.
University Center, Denman Room (UC 2.01.28), Main Campus
The UTSA Honors College hosts a sneak CineFestival preview of the documentary Somos Lengua, a new documentary about the Mexican hip hop scene. Jim Mendiola, the CineFestival Director, will screen the movie and present a festival overview.
University Center, Bexar Room (UC 1.102), Main Campus
Grab your friends, family, kids and dog for this annual fun run on the UTSA Main Campus benefititng the UTSA Alumni Association.
Convocation Center, Main Campus
Join the Department of Interdisciplinary Learning and Teaching for the 13th annual Storytelling Festival. The festival will feature keynote speaker Carolina Quiroga-Stultz, a Colombian Storyteller and journalist. This event is free and open to the public.
Main Building, ground floor, Main Campus
The IDS Colloquium showcases the excellent scholarship done by the IDS students in the College of Education and Human Development at UTSA. In addition, this event also honors the legacy of Dr. Marian Martinello.
Business Building, University Room (BB 2.06.04), Main Campus
The Department of Biology and the Be the Match Team will collaborate to engage and educate our students in the importance of a life saving donation through peripheral blood stem cells and a marrow harvest.
UC Paseo and Central Plaza, Main Campus
UTSA welcomes the Italian-born duo Bandini-Chiacchiaretta. They've toured the world performing Argentine Tango music on guitar and bandoneon, the instrument of Astor Piazzolla. Tickets are $10 or free with UTSA Student I.D.
Arts Building, Recital Hall (ARTS 2.03.02), Main Campus
The University of Texas at San Antonio is dedicated to the advancement of knowledge through research and discovery, teaching and learning, community engagement and public service. As an institution of access and excellence, UTSA embraces multicultural traditions and serves as a center for intellectual and creative resources as well as a catalyst for socioeconomic development and the commercialization of intellectual property - for Texas, the nation and the world.
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