Abbott held a roundtable discussion at Ruibal's Plants of Texas to talk with the owners of that company and GOLD Landscape about their affects on the Texas economy.
GREG ABBOTT: There are so many small businesses in our state that go along with that, that provide jobs, that provide services, that provide goods that help the entire Texas economy grow. Speaking of which, you did mention this to you all, but to show you how the Texas economy is growing, when I became governor of Texas, if it were it's own country, we would have had the 10th largest economy in the entire world.
Today, Texas, if it were it's own country, now has the ninth largest economy in the entire world. So we're growing internationally in the size of our economy. And it's people like those in the room here today who have helped powered that economy.
Now, also important is something that I wanted to visit with them about. And that is small businesses, in particular, have a lot of needs as it concerns what is going on in the state legislature. We're in the middle of a legislative session right now where we are working on pieces of legislation that will help small businesses across the state. We've talked about some of those. And I've got some keen input from some of the people across the table about some additional things that we can work on.
One that we are talking about is making sure that we provide civil liability protection to businesses like these that have been open throughout the entire pandemic to make sure that they're not going to be put out of business by frivolous lawsuits or they could drain every last dollar that they have. And so we want to get those civil liability protections passed as quickly as possible and make sure that small businesses like these will be protected by that legislation.
Another thing that I heard from them is they face a lot of different regulations and regulations, in particular, at the local level. One thing the state has done frequently that we will continue to do, and that is we want to reduce regulations as much as possible. Sometimes, that is state-based regulations that we can produce. Other times, it's the state taking action to reduce or eliminate local regulations that make it difficult for small businesses to operate.
And so we will be working with these business leaders, as well as the organizations that collaborate with them, to make sure that we will help them reduce the red tape, reduce the cost of regulations, so it's going to be easier for them to grow, to prosper, and to expand their businesses even more.
Another thing that we talked about that is so important in so many different sectors in Texas is job training skills, to have a skilled workforce so that people, when they graduate from high school or graduate from college or through other avenues-- nurseries will have access to skilled employees that they can plug right in and make sure that they are able to grow their businesses even more. We will work on strategies with other businesses, but also with nurseries and landscaping businesses also to make sure that they have the skilled workforce training that they need.
One thing that we didn't talk about. I should of brought it up before.
But we find this to be so important in the business sector, but also in the education sector, as well as in the medical sector, and that is to expand broadband access across the entire state of Texas. We saw that very effectively through the use of telemedicine during the course of the pandemic. But we also see that small businesses, they are able to operate far more effectively if they can operate through the broadband. And we want to make sure that everybody in every region of the entire state of Texas has access to that broadband access, so that everybody can enjoy the prosperity of doing business in the state of Texas.
Now, somebody that has done a great job of leading this particular business operation in Ruibal's is Mike. Mike, I want to thank you for opening up this facility today, letting me learn more about how you will operate, but also letting me be inspired by what you and your family have done-- starting small, growing big to be one of the leading landscaping and nursery businesses in the entire state of Texas.
MIKE RUIBAL: Well, we appreciate-- appreciate having you here and listening to some of our concerns and things like that. We've been, of course, very fortunate to be able to keep the type of nursery we have in the city of Dallas. And we have many, many people from other parts of the state or even other states that say, I wish we can build a Ruibal's in our state.
Well, with many of the regulations that you talked about, that is an issue that if we were able to get help on that end, you could see more Ruibal's in major cities, like the city parks. We could create spaces that would be similar to a park. Parks have designate-- cities have designated areas for parks. They have had so much green area.
I would like to see in the future a way that we were able to designate some of those things for nurseries like ours, so that little people like us are able to open nurseries again like they used to have. They're very, very important. They're like a park. They're a place for people to come. We have people come in here that just-- they may not buy things, but they walk through because they feel like, boy, this is just a place to be. It feels good to be here.
And we need those feel-good kind of places throughout the state, throughout the country. So that's-- that's what I'd like to see happen. And I think the Texas Nurseries Association and some of the other people around that we can get those things done. And with your help, I'm looking forward to it.
GREG ABBOTT: We'll do it. Working together, we'll make Texas more beautiful.