TEMPLE, Texas — Gov. Greg Abbott was a special guest at a ribbon cutting ceremony for a new finishing and distribution center in the city of Temple's industrial park Tuesday.
He and area leaders toured East Penn Manufacturing Company's new building. The company is private, family-owned and has become a global leader in battery manufacturing.
The company's President and CEO Chris Pruitt said the facility will process 7 million to 8 million batteries each year. The new building is larger than 393,000 square feet and created more than 200 new jobs averaging at $46,000 a year.
Pruitt said it was a $106-million investment.
"We know that we have what it takes here," said City of Temple Mayor Tim Davis. "We're blessed that we have the assets here, but we also have the ability to land an important project like this."
Abbott gives credit to local leadership for bringing the growth to Temple and State of Texas economy.
"When you look at having a well diversified economy, one essential component to that is to have a prolific presence in manufacturing and distribution, and that's exactly what East Penn provides," he said.
Abbott says Texas is No. 2 in the nation for manufacturing but, East Penn's business move is helping reach his goal of being No. 1 in the nation.
As the general election approaches in November, Abbott is bragging about the Texas he has led.
"The main thing I want to convey to that debate is how Texas is truly leading the country," he said about the upcoming debate against Democratic nominee Beto O'Rourke. "I gave several examples today how Texas ranks number one in the nation for things like economic development. What too few people know is Texas rankings in so many other areas."
Here are some of the things Abbott said about Texas in rankings:
- Texas ranks No. 1 in America as the best state to start a small business
- Texas has added far more jobs than any other state in America
- Texas is home of the largest medical center in the entire world
- Texas is going to be an international leader in semiconductors
But, with the help of places like East Penn Manufacturing growing the state --Abbott says Texas is sitting in a good place.
"Texas is sitting on a surplus in our budget of $27 billion," he told the crowd of people at the ribbon cutting ceremony.
The governor says the money should go toward education, health care and public safety, but he also wants to give the biggest property tax cut the state of Texas has ever seen.
At the ribbon cutting ceremony, Abbott also stressed the importance of growing the economy in mid- to smaller-sized cities like Temple.
"The best is yet to come for the Central Texas and the Temple region because we had a focus in the Governor's Office to make sure that Temple was going to be growing economically and you're seeing the fruits of that commitment here today," he said.