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Speaker Straus forms committee to help Texas lure big companies like Amazon

FILE - In this Tuesday, May 30, 2017, file photo, the Amazon logo is displayed at the Nasdaq MarketSite, in New York's Times Square . (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)

As Amazon eyes their next headquarters, Texas is stepping up its game. Thursday morning, Speaker of the House Joe Straus announced plans to help make sure Texas is competing to for the 50,000 jobs and future opportunities.

Straus formed a committee of lawmakers to look into the state's economic competitiveness. That includes taking a closer look at the state's education system, infrastructure and access to investment capital,

The committee will also explore the common themes that emerge when companies explain why they chose to move or not to move to certain states.

Straus also commended the business community for standing up against legislation like the bathroom bill during the regular and special sessions.

"We can continue to focus on issue such as bathrooms which divide Texans and hurt the recruitment of employers and top talent, or we can focus on issues that actually support growth," said Straus.

No matter what Amazon decides, Speaker Straus said Texas can't get complacent. He said these days, being pro-business is more than tax breaks and incentives.

"Those things, of course, still count but it's also about education, and tolerance, and empathy, and quality of life," said Straus.

Drew Scheberle, Austin Chamber of Commerce vice president of state issues, backs the new committee. He said attracting companies and like Amazon need to be a top priority.

"You constantly have to be looking at what are our strengths, what are our weaknesses, and how do we correct our weaknesses," said Scheberle.

Straus said he wants new committee to work quickly and aggressively. The deadline to report its findings is mid-December.

The deadline for Austin to submit its Amazon big is October 19th.

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