The United States is the world’s number one manufacturing nation. Maintaining that top position depends on a lot of things: Our tax environment, our labor situation, our regulatory environment and our educational system are a few of the big ones. But sometimes forgotten in all of that is whether the U.S. has access to global markets through free trade agreements. After all, if U.S. manufacturers don’t have new customers to sell their products to, then our position as a top global manufacturer will begin to slip.
- Wednesday, 11 July 2012 06:05
- Greg Jefferson
The last two major projects at the Convention Center turned into disasters and embarrassed City Hall – hopefully. With the City now set to start selecting a contractor for the latest one, here's hoping for the best.
Nine teams of construction and design firms – a small constellation of mostly A-list contractors, local, national, and international – answered the City's request for qualifications for the facility's next expansion, its fourth since it opened for HemisFair in 1968. The work, valued for now between $270 million and $300 million, is expected to juice San Antonio's convention trade and the Hotel Occupancy Tax revenue that goes with it, as well as the redevelopment of HemisFair Park.
The deadline for bid packages was Tuesday. The schedule now calls for vetting and short-listing this month and through August, followed by a City Council decision in September.
- Sunday, 08 July 2012 10:49
- Greg Jefferson
Tom Frost gave up day-to-day control of Cullen/Frost Bankers, the holding company for Frost Bank, in 1997 when Richard Evans took over as chairman and chief executive. But the eponymous executive – the company's chairman emeritus – still keeps office hours in the stolid Frost Bank Tower on Houston Street. He also answers his own phone, even though he has an assistant.
That's a little jarring if you're a reporter calling him for the first time; you assume getting an interview will take some negotiation with a gatekeeper. At least that's what I thought. But Frost's accessibility is easy to get used to.
- Friday, 29 June 2012 06:34
- Nelson Balido
In the middle of a hotly contested presidential election year, you wouldn't be faulted for being skeptical that a Republican and a Democrat could come together to introduce a bill that turns the status quo of an issue on its head.
But that's what has happened with the recent introduction in the U.S. House of the Cross-Border Trade Enhancement Act of 2012 by Democrat Henry Cuellar and Republican Michael McCaul, both of Texas.
Rep. Cuellar is the ranking member of the Border and Maritime Security Subcommittee of the House Homeland Security Committee; Rep. McCaul is the chairman of the Subcommittee on Oversight, Investigations & Management. Both are committed to finding a new way to finance outmoded land border ports of entry that will provide for the nation's security and keep our economy strong.
- Wednesday, 27 June 2012 05:56
- Greg Jefferson
Predictably, news last week that City-owned CPS Energy handed out a record $16.4 million in bonuses to its 3,644 employees whipped up plenty of online sniping. The utility's plan to ask the City Council for a rate increase early next year, on top of continuing uneasiness about the economy, amplified the anger.
But the utility handed out the bonuses in May after scrapping a rate hike it had planned to argue for this summer – CEO Doyle Beneby said cost-cutting had done away with the immediate need for an increase. Also, it's operating under a policy that goes back 13 years.
The CPS' employee incentive program has been around since 1999, when the agency's board of trustees approved a slate of changes that allowed it to act more like a private-sector company, including the ability to sell excess power on the open market.