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California lawmakers look to Texas for salvation

Texas Gov. Rick Perry couldn't have written the script better himself. After months of public boasting by the Republican governor about his "hunting trips" to California, in which his prey is companies ready to export their jobs to his state, a delegation of California lawmakers is heading to Texas on a "fact-finding" mission to see how the governor works his magic.

The trip is predictably heavy on GOP lawmakers, who have long been lobbying for less taxes, less regulation and less government -- like they have in Texas. But Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, a San Francisco liberal, will also tag along, as will at least one moderate Democrat in the Legislature and a representative from the California Teachers Assn.

The Times went on its own fact-finding mission to Austin not long ago. What we learned is that more than a few experts are skeptical of the premise that Texas has a more dynamic economy than California. The Lone Star State is also struggling with a colossal budget crisis, much like California's. A study by UCLA published soon after our report poked considerable holes in the theory that Texas was stealing California jobs. And the Austin American-Statesman reported that Perry's claims about the number of companies that have closed shop in California to start anew in Texas are way overblown.

But the organizer of the trip, Assemblyman Dan Logue (R-Chico), says the evidence that Texas is growing jobs much faster than California is indisputable. Between 2008 and 2010 Texas gained 165,386 jobs. California? It lost more than 1 million jobs.

"We want to sit down with these businesses that could not stand our state and find out why they left," Logue said.

-- Evan Halper in Sacramento

 
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