(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.
The community is invited to the inauguration of UTSA President Taylor Eighmy, the sixth president of UTSA.
Convocation Center, Main Campus
The Provost's Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Council hosts this forum to share and further explain the results of the survey and to offer the opportunity for faculty and staff to provide feedback.
Durango Building La Villita Room (DB 1.116), Downtown Campus
For more than 20 years, Josie Méndez-Negrete, a UTSA associate professor in Mexican American Studies, has endured the emotional journey of watching her son, Tito, struggle with schizophrenia. Her powerful account is the first memoir by a Mexican American author to share the devastation and hope a family experiences in dealing with this mental illness.
H-E-B Student Union Travis Room (HSU 2.212), Main Campus
Graduate and undergraduate student researchers pursuing majors in the College of Liberal and Fine Arts will present their original work.
Student Union Retama Auditorium (SU 2.02.02), Main Campus
March Into Your Major is a major exploration fair intended to provide students with information on selecting their major.
H-E-B Student Union Ballroom (HSU 1.104/1.106), Main Campus
The UTSA community is invited to this town hall meeting to learn more about progress of the Student Success Presidential initiative.
Frio Street Building (FS 1.512), Downtown Campus
Author Annette Angela Portillo will read her book, which examines Native American women’s autobiographical discourses and multiple-voiced life stories that resist generic conventional notions of first-person narrative.
McKinney Humanities Building (MH 3.02.24), Main Campus
Chelsea Wentworth, anthropology professor at High Point University, will discuss women’s roles in changing customary feasting patterns so that feasts can serve as a coping mechanism for children’s food insecurity in urban areas the South Pacific Island nation, Vanuatu.
H-E-B Student Union Travis Room (HSU 2.202), 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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