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Texas Military Bases Are Boosting Local Economies According To New Study

Benjamin Faske, U.S. Air Force
An U.S. Air Force pilot assigned to the 479th Flying Training Group prepares to depart in a T-6 Texan II aircraft at Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph, Texas, Aug. 31, 2012.

A new study by the Texas Comptroller estimates that military installations contributed at least $123.6 billion to the Texas economy in 2019, and supported more than 630,000 jobs in communities across the state.

Joint Base San Antonio had an economic output of more than $41 billion last year — the highest of any military installation in the state. It also supported over 210,000 jobs directly and indirectly.

The study includes active duty, visiting and other military personnel, dependents, civilian employees and contractors directly affiliated with the base. 

Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar said the study was meant to inform local and state-level policy makers.

“Sometimes we forget that those military installations… those are the reasons that homes are built. Those are the reasons that local grocery stores exist — which are additional jobs,” he explained. “So all the different types of peripheral support systems that an economy needs, those things would go away if we didn't have our installations here in the state of Texas.”

Made with Flourish

Hegar added that the economic impact numbers could also come into play when and if the military decides to realign its bases. 

“We as a state also need to have a commitment to make sure that we're being good partners with the federal government in trying to support — in different ways — the continuation of the health of our military installations.”

In 2005, the Defense Base Closure and Realignment Commission ordered billions in construction and sent thousands more troops to the San Antonio area. During that BRAC round, JBSA-Fort Sam Houston became the home of enlisted medical training, and the San Antonio Military Medical Center was expanded.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott praised the study in a statement Monday, pointing to military installations as economic bulwarks during tough times. 

“Now more than ever, these jobs add critical stability for communities focused on economic recovery following the COVID-19 pandemic,” Abbott’s statement said. “That is why I will continue to work with the Texas Legislature and TMPC to ensure that military installations in Texas keep adding unmatched value for our nation.”

Carson Frame can be reached at Carson@TPR.org and on Twitter at @carson_frame.

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Carson Frame can be reached carson@tpr.org and on Twitter at @carson_frame