Texas 2036 wrapped up TribFest 2019 with a conversation between Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar and California Secretary of State Alex Padilla. It contrasted how the two states approach key issues ranging from education to climate to regulation, but also illuminated areas where both states have faced similar challenges.
Hegar said that due to California’s great size, the state already faces challenges that could appear in Texas as it continues to grow. He noted that every day, there are roughly 1,100 new Texans, and Texas 2036 estimates that between now and Texas’ bicentennial in 17 years, 10 million more people — equivalent to the combined population of Houston, Dallas and San Antonio — will call Texas home.
Such growth, Hegar said, will make affordability an increasingly important issue going forward. Padilla noted that California has seen such growth impact infrastructure, as millions more people have tried to live with the same networks of, for instance, power, water and sewer lines.
Other topics included the states’ differing levels of support for their social safety nets, approaches to education and workforce training, broadband access and technology literacy, energy, voting policies and general political dynamics.
The panel’s moderator, Alexandra Suich Bass, a senior correspondent at The Economist, noted that strong data platforms can help create common ground and effective solutions, and she cited Texas 2036 as a valuable data resource.
And she closed with the hope that leaders, influencers and policy experts in Texas and California will continue looking to each other for lessons in how to respond to these difficult policy challenges — both states, she said, can learn a lot from each other.