“Building a business is tough, but I hear building a business in California is next to impossible.”
So says Texas Gov. Rick Perry in a new advertising campaign targeted at California companies.
The Lone Star governor plans to broadcast the radio ads throughout the Golden State in an effort to lure companies here to move east. Such poaching is familiar to Californians.
The economy here dwarfs that of any state, but its tax rates are higher and regulations more onerous. Other states are constantly sending their economic development teams to California to try to lure firms away.
Perry likes to joke that he goes on “hunting trips” here, in which the game he is after is dissatisfied California firms. His latest move may be as much political as it is economic. The 2012 presidential campaign was not kind to the Texas governor’s image. He entered the GOP primaries a clear favorite, with a high approval rating and an impressive fundraising operation. He exited after a series of gaffes and missteps and has had a limited national profile since.
Taking aim at California has always been a favorite sport of Republicans seeking to bolster their national standing. On the website that Perry launched to accompany Texas' advertising campaign, the he goes after the latest round of tax hikes passed in California, which increased the marginal rates on the income of the superwealthy to more than 13%, among the highest in the nation. “Now with the passage of Prop. 30, which increases California’s already excessive income and sales tax … businesses are moving to Texas,” Perry writes in an open letter posted on the website.
Experts differ on how successful these campaigns are. Corporate executives are constantly grumbling about conditions here. Some have, indeed, left. More could go now that taxes have been hiked. But the collapse of the state economy that antitax advocates and others have warned about for decades has yet to take shape. Despite a badly battered budget exacerbated by years of political dysfunction, the state’s economy is showing strong signs of growth, with some California sectors helping lead the national recovery.
-- Evan Halper in Sacramento
Photo: Gov. Rick Perry delivers his state of the state address to lawmakers in the Capitol in Austin, Texas, last week. Credit: Eric Gay / Associated Press