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Ear to the Ground

Texas Gov. Rick Perry: California Is ‘Looking at Our Backside’

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Posted on Feb 11, 2013
Gage Skidmore (CC-BY-SA)

The Texas governor who made a fool of himself in the 2012 presidential race has come to the Golden State trying to steal businesses and jobs.

“Twelve years ago, California wasn’t looking over its shoulder,” he told the San Jose Mercury News. “They’re not looking over their shoulder now—they’re looking at our backside.”

Perry may have trouble persuading business leaders to move to Texas if for no other reason than he is that state’s governor, but the former presidential candidate is hoping that lower taxes and less regulation will get Californians to put up with his leadership and head to the Lone Star State.

California Gov. Jerry Brown joked about Perry’s trip, saying the visitor may decide not to return home: “A lot of these Texans, they come here, they don’t go back.”

Perry would like to see the technology and film industries, among others, consider a relocation to his state. Although the film business has shown a willingness to shoot anywhere there are tax breaks, it’s not entirely clear such endeavors have paid off for states such as Louisiana and New York. Silicon Valley, another Perry target, is a tougher sell. Tax breaks probably won’t appeal to people who just recently voted to raise their own taxes, and California hasn’t exactly shackled Internet startups with regulation. Also, the Valley depends on the constant flow of new innovative minds and sources of investment fostered in the area.

Still, California continues to struggle with a ravaged housing market, higher-than-average unemployment and other economic problems, and no one is going to take kindly to governors from other states trying to poach jobs. Perry isn’t the only hairdo who has come knocking, as The Associated Press reports:

The Texas governor is not even the only dignitary to visit this week. South Dakota Gov. Dennis Daugaard, a fellow Republican, and state agriculture officials are attending the World Ag Expo in Tulare, Calif., this week in an effort to recruit dairy operators as that state seeks to double its current herd of about 92,000 dairy cows.

Daugaard’s office also recently ran radio commercials and print ads in Minnesota trying to lure businesses across the border, and Wisconsin has put signs on its border with Minnesota that say “Open for Business.”

—Posted by Peter Z. Scheer.

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