Out of 26 million Texans, you may have an idea to change the world. You may have had several ideas to change the world. But only a tiny minority of you pushed through the U.S. Patent office from application to successful patent. We've seen Texans change the world many times over. Jack Kilby did it with Texas Instruments in 1958 with the integrated circuit, causing the start of the digital revolution, which, in part, is why you can read these words over your electronic device.
Over the last few years, Texas Business has brought its feature: Texas Business Patent of the Day. This list is of the ones that were either extremely clever, odd or strange. One thing becomes apparent from these patents and the patent that runs daily in Texas Business—Texans have a unique mind set.
Though the history of the Corn Dog is disputed, the State Fair of Texas claims to have introduced the Corny Dog sometime between 1938 and 1942. As a paean to that invention that now sits in the freezer section of every grocery store in the southwest, here are the fried foods the State Fair of Texas has introduced, or tried to introduce, in the last seven years.
Don't get caught up with John Wayne religion. For one thing, he's not Texan. He's in some fine movies involving Texas, most notably The Searchers, but none of his movies can make the best cut of Texas movies. Here's the short list.
Unsung Texas Business Journalists Mention that one is a reporter, and there's a spark of interest. Mention that one is a business news reporter, and watch the eyes glaze over. Except to the players, business and economic journalists are unappreciated. While many wish to become sports reporters when they grow up, most do not realize that business journalists cover the Real Game. Mention that reporter covers business, and watch the eyes glaze over. A toast to these below on the short list and the numerous unnamed ones slogging away. Full Story » TexasBusiness.com
Best Texas Mexican Food: The Short List No, we're not going to debate the difference between Tex-Mex, Mex-Tex, Mexican and Texican food. Just know these establishments are the pinnacle of Texas Mexican fare. No brag, just fact. Full Story » TexasBusiness.com
Best Texas Burgers Texas Burgers. . While a hamburger is merely sustenance and gratification for a meal, the memory a good Texas burger can give rise to Homeric odes. The short list. Full Story » TexasBusiness.com
Texas Business reports: In the aftermath of the Great Recession, it is critical to reexamine the definition of what is affordable to a homebuyer and how the measures of housing affordability play out for average households in Texas and the United States, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas.
“Affordable housing” has a variety of meanings depending on the source and the purpose of analysis. Some measures focus on overall market affordability, while others derive from individuals’ ability to meet housing expenses. Here, we use the phrase to describe the ability of households with median incomes to qualify for and reasonably afford owner-occupied housing in their communities.
According to the widely used U.S. Housing and Urban Development and Census Bureau definitions, housing is affordable if the unit’s costs do not exceed 30 percent of a household’s income. Included in expense calculations are mortgage payments, taxes, insurance and utilities. If housing expenses represent 50 percent or more of a household’s annual income, that household is said to have a severe housing cost burden. The origin of these thresholds is rooted in national housing legislation dating back to the National Housing Act of 1937. Figure 1 is a snapshot of the percentage of U.S. and Texas metropolitan-area homeowners with housing cost burdens as defined by the Census Bureau. On average, Texas has a lower percentage of homeowners who are housing-cost burdened.
Taking a closer look, we compare the maximum house price for which a median-income household qualifies with the actual median house price in a given area. Figure 2 shows these data for four Texas metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) in 2010. Austin–Round Rock has the largest gap between how much house the median area income can afford and the median house price available.
The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Opportunity Index (HOI), another measure of affordability, represents the share of homes affordable to those with median incomes in a given region. The cost calculations are derived from records of regional monthly home sales prices, estimated property taxes, property insurance and interest rates, assuming a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage with a 10 percent down payment. This measure uses a standard of 28 percent of a household’s gross income to estimate affordability. Figure 3 shows the HOI for the nation as well as for some Texas MSAs. Generally, homes across the U.S. have become more affordable over the past seven years; the most notable exception is El Paso, which experienced more volatility.
Recent developments in affordable housing research have highlighted the need for a more realistic and inclusive definition that goes beyond the costs of shelter. In addition to the housing cost burden, the Center for Neighborhood Technology’s Housing + Technology Affordability Index (H+T Index) incorporates transportation costs, typically the second-largest living expenditure. Methodology for calculating transportation costs includes public transit accessibility and expense, automobile costs and ownership rates, and employment access indexes. The combination of housing and transportation expenses must be less than 45 percent of a household’s income to be considered affordable. To illustrate the effect of adding transportation to the affordability measures, Figures 4A and 4B indicate the affordable areas in the Dallas–Fort Worth MSA in yellow. Figure 4A shows that a large portion of the region is affordable when only housing costs are included, while Figure 4B shows a majority of the region is unaffordable when both housing and transportation costs are considered.
Clearly, alternative definitions and measures produce different representations of affordable living. Additionally, affordability is just one piece of the housing market picture. Declines in house prices may not be positive for some homeowners or for the overall economy but may benefit prospective homebuyers.
The Texas News Scrawl is a handy reference to stories Texas Business recommends from other news sources. Some of the stories that Texas Business currently suggests include: Robert Rodriguez breathes new life into an old vampire favorite; ClubCorp buys Prestonwood Country Club in Dallas and Plano; Office Depot overcharged Dallas by up to $3.6 million, city auditor finds; Texas power market monitor resigns amid unresolved reform debate; U.S. Supreme Court denies review of Farmers Branch immigration ordinance; Aggie Vanishing Act: Sale of Texas Wesleyan’s law school to A&M leaves alumni out in the cold;ExxonMobil CEO Doesn't Want a Fracking Operation Near His Backyard bDrowned bridge worker’s employer had prior OSHA violations;and more.