Feb 9, 2021
GOVERNOR ABBOTT'S 2022-23 BUDGET PROPOSAL RELEASED
Governor Abbott has released his budget priorities for the 2022-2023 biennium. Not to be confused with the House and Senate base budgets that have been filed, the governor’s budget is a document that often serves as a guiding policy statement.
See below for his press release followed by a summary of key proposals and recommendations:

“Governor Greg Abbott today released his budget for the 2022-2023 biennium. The Governor's budget ensures that the State of Texas continues to build on the critical progress made in public school finance, property tax reform, disaster preparedness, school safety, and numerous other achievements of previous legislatures. It also ensures that Texas has the ability to look toward the future as our economy moves beyond the pandemic and the state makes critical investments without raising taxes on hardworking Texans.

‘I truly believe that Texas will be able to meet its needs and serve the taxpayers and residents of our state during this biennium and beyond,' reads the Governor's introductory letter. 'We must also look toward the future as our economy moves beyond the pandemic. We will take action so the state can remain a model for the rest of the nation by providing for a healthier, safer, freer, and more prosperous Texas.'

Highlights of the Governor's budget:

  • Ensuring Access to COVID – 19 Vaccines and Monoclonal Antibody Therapeutics
  • Ensuring Healthcare Access for Texans with Preexisting Conditions
  • Increasing the Availability of Teleservices and Expanding Access to Broadband
  • Ensuring Compliance with the Federal Foster Care Lawsuit
  • Providing Law Enforcement Access to Training
  • Providing Additional Body Cameras for Peace Officers
  • Enhancing Capitol Security
  • Reforming our Flawed Bail Program
  • Ensuring Election Integrity
  • Addressing Learning Loss Due to COVID-19
  • Creating a Broad Foundation for Civics Knowledge
  • Attracting Jobs to Texas

REPRESENTATIVE LAMBERT APPOINTED TO COMMITTEES
Representative Stan Lambert (R-Abilene) was appointed to serve on the Defense and Veteran Affairs' and the Business and Industry Committees in the Texas House of Representatives. Additionally, Representative Lambert continues to serve on the Sunset Advisory Commission.

"I would like to thank Speaker Phelan and his team for these appointments and I am grateful for assignments that will allow me to advocate for my district and fellow Texans. I am eager to get to work with my colleagues in addressing the issues our state faces."

Representative Lambert is in his third term representing District 71, which is comprised of Taylor, Nolan, and Jones counties.
TEXAS ECONOMIC INDICATORS
The Texas economy showed signs of growth in December as payroll employment strengthened and the unemployment rate inched down. Respondents to the Texas Business Outlook Surveys indicated healthy activity in December, followed by weaker results in January. Oil prices and the Texas active rig count continue to climb, while the level of dining out in Texas varied by metro. The dramatic rise in hospitalizations in the state and nation due to COVID-19 in recent months is putting a strain on the health care system.

Employment Growth Picks Up: Texas employment grew a nonannualized 0.6 percent in December after climbing an upwardly revised 0.4 percent in November (seen below). December marks the eighth month in a row for payroll expansion in the state since jobs slumped in March and April.
While the total number of jobs across the state remains 4.8 percent below February’s pre-pandemic levels, not all sectors were hit as hard. In particular, Texas payrolls in sectors tied heavily to technology services saw a muted decline in the spring and have since grown steadily, surpassing their pre-pandemic levels. Jobs for computer systems design—which includes occupations such as computer programmer, computer software engineer and computer systems analyst—have seen the most robust growth and were 6.9 percent above February’s employment levels in December.

U.S. employment slipped slightly in December after seven consecutive months of growth. National payrolls remained 6.5 percent below February’s pre-pandemic levels, nonannualized.

TARGETED EIDL FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Looking for more information about the Targeted EIDL Advance? Earlier this week, the SBA added a new frequently asked questions which includes information about the application process, eligibility and program criteria.

Frequently Asked Questions about the COVID-19 Targeted EIDL Advance can be found by clicking here.
TEXAS ECONOMY SOFT IN JANUARY, BUT OUTLOOK OPTIMISTIC FOR LATER IN 2021
Regional economic conditions appeared to deteriorate in January after picking up at year-end, data show. Nonetheless, there is optimism regarding the outlook for growth later this year. Federal stimulus payments, paycheck protection program loans and greater COVID-19 vaccination availability are supportive of expansion later in 2021.
Service sector revenues were flat overall in January, with some high-contact industries such as transportation and accommodation and food services experiencing declines. Survey respondents said rising COVID-19 cases restrained activity.

While the Texas Manufacturing Outlook Survey surprised to the upside in December, production and demand growth decelerated sharply in January. The raw materials prices index reached an almost 10-year high, and some contacts noted supply-chain constraints.

You don't want to miss these upcoming events for
your business.

FEB 9 UPDATE ON SBA SHUTTERED VENUE OPERATORS GRANT The Governor's Office of Small Business Assistance, in partnership with the Texas Music Office, will provide an update on the Shuttered Venue Operator’s (SVO) Grant. The webinar is an hour long beginning at 10:00 AM. It will focus on the information required for small businesses to get ready to apply for the new grant through the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). Register here.

FEB 9 - MARCH 12 NATIONAL IMPERATIVE FOR INDUSTRIAL SKILLS TEES and DOD representatives will present data related to the challenges of filling the manufacturing pipeline with qualified workers. Participants from industry, education & communities will have the opportunity to share their perspectives in plenary sessions as well as in breakout groups. Summaries from the feedback will be shared during workshops and digitally following the conclusion of the workshops. Register here.

FEB 9 UPDATE ON SBA'S SHUTTERED VENUE OPERATORS GRANT The Texas Music Office + The Governor's Office of Small Business Assistance will co-host a second, FREE webinar at 10:00 AM for Texas small businesses in the music industry providing an update on the Small Business Administration's (SBA) Shuttered Venue Operators Grant, and other pandemic assistance available through the SBA. Register here.

FEB 10 PAYCHECK PROTECTION PROGRAM (PPP) The PPP is available for small business owners who operated prior to February 15, 2020 and did not receive PPP funds last year. Also available is funding for a Second Draw PPP loan for those who received PPP funds in 2020 and meet certain eligibility requirements. This webinar begins at 2:00 PM and will provide an overview of what's new with the PPP, who can apply, how to apply, how much is available, and what's new in PPP Forgiveness. Register here.

FEB 11 STARTING A NEW BUSINESS Hosted by Content Director Jeanette Mulvey, at 12 PM this webinar encourages interactive discussion focused on giving you the information and insight you need to start up smartly and smoothly, even under tough conditions. You'll learn how to define your audience and find your niche, then pitch your idea to potential investors. Register here.

FEB 17 BUSINESS EDGE: FOCUED ON SOLUTIONS Business Edge is an opportunity for business professionals at all levels to discuss topics in a small group with other professionals. This webinar will be held during lunch (12PM - 1PM) with Eide Bailly  providing an overview of a topic and the rest of the participants providing input through idea generation and sharing. This is designed for the business professional who is solution-focused and is energized by small group dialogue. Register Here.

FEB 18 BUSINESS BEFORE AFTER HOURS Before you head out for the day, tune in to the zoom link found here from the comfort of your at-home office or office as we meet to end the day on a positive note making business connections at Business Before After Hours! This zoom meeting will begin at 4:00 PM. Links and more information here.

FEB 23 AYP AND THE DALLAS STARS Your AYP Committee is actively looking for ways to bring value to your membership and are excited to bring you an opportunity to hear from Executive Vice President, Business Operations and General Counsel for the Dallas Stars National Hockey League - Alana Matthews. Join us at 11:00 AM on zoom. Click here for more information.

FEB 24 AND MARCH 31 ONE MILLION CUPS Are you an entrepreneur? Are you searching for a way to connect with other entrepreneurs to discover solutions for your small business needs? The Abilene Chamber of Commerce and McMurry University Center for Free Enterprise and Entrepreneurship are excited to bring the Abilene community - 1 Million Cups! Join us at 9:00 AM to discuss common problems, and potential solutions all entrepreneurs may face. Click here for Feb 24 information.

FEB 24 MICROSOFT 365 PRODUCTIVITY & PLANNING Get the most out of your Microsoft 365 applications! In this training we’ll show you how to use the tools available in Microsoft 365 to maximize your business’s productivity and organization. This virtual webinar event is free and open to the public. Register here.

FEB 25 TABLE FOR 10 LUNCH EVENT Abilene Young Professionals presents our newest networking opportunity - Table for 10. Join us at 12:00 PM noon at Betty Rose's Little Brisket for conversation and networking! Click here to sign up.

FEB 25 TABLE FOR 10 EVENING EVENT Abilene Young Professionals presents our newest networking opportunity - Table for 10. Join us at 5:30 PM to meet new people and enjoy great food, with an appetizer on the house thanks to our partner at Betty Rose's Little Brisket! Click here to sign up.

MARCH 2 2021 ECONOMIC OUTLOOK To help you with the economic uncertainty and to help forecast recovery, your Chamber in partnership with America’s Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at Texas Tech, is pleased to bring you an Economic Outlook Seminar on March 2 featuring renowned economist Dr. Mark Dotzour. Please join us at 10:30 AM via zoom. Click here for more information.

MARCH 6 ABILENE ZOO At 10:00 AM the Abilene Zoo will host its Grand Opening of the Madagascar Exhibit. Click here to set a reminder.

MARCH 24 SECURITY AWARENESS Did you know your team is your first line of defense when it comes to your business’s cybersecurity? Learn how to boost your defenses by training your team on Security Awareness. This virtual webinar is free and open to the public. Register here.

MARCH 25 & 26, APRIL 1 & 2 ELEMENTS OF SUCCESSFUL PHILANTHROPY VIRTUAL TRAINING SERIES The Friends of the Texas Historical Commission are leading this series on development training suited for large and small organizations from any discipline with limited development staff. They will highlight the best practices while facilitating dynamic group interactions to help attendees build and strengthen their fundraising "tool-kit" so they can more effectively and sustainably achieve their mission. Click Here to learn more and Click Here to Register Now.