Perry has led numerous economic missions to other states since arriving in the governor’s mansion in 2000. But in February, he took his pitch to a new level with an ad buy on California radio, asserting the superiority of the Texas business scene and belittling the economic climate in California. “Building a business is tough, but I hear building a business in California is next to impossible,” Perry said in the ad.
The media blitz in California was also followed by an “economic development trip” to the Golden State, where Perry met with business leaders in the high tech, financial, film and other industries. Perry’s moves sparked an irate Gov. Jerry Brown (D-Calif.) to dismiss the Texas governor’s efforts as “barely a fart.”
Whether he is successful in luring the jobs or not, observers say that playing hardball with big Democratic states and the officials who run them is all upside for Perry.
“Guys like Jerry Brown…and guys like Andrew Cuomo, in New York, are kind of a punch line to voters outside their home states,” said GOP strategist Rick Wilson, a proponent of Perry’s jobs recruitment. “It’s a great contrast.”
The assertive approach is nothing personal, Perry’s office says.
“Our point has always been about competition,” Perry spokeswoman Lucy Nashed said. “We do what we do because we want to be out there, we want to be getting jobs to move to Texas, We want to also have the environment here to create jobs…it’s been the governor’s belief that we have to do this because we’ve got Louisiana on the east, New Mexico, Oklahoma all doing the same stuff.”
“I’m thinking that Gov. Cuomo would not admit that he’d want to be a Texan,” Perry said in January of the Democratic governor, who has sought to take a business-friendly approach. “But if he were truthful, you could say that the economic climate that has allowed the state to grow and create jobs, he’d dearly love to be able to stand up and say, ‘We did this in New York.’ But he can’t.”
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