Perry squabbles with governor of Show-Me State

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by Doug Miller / KHOU 11 News

khou.com

Posted on August 30, 2013 at 7:30 PM

Updated Friday, Aug 30 at 7:40 PM

Missouri may call itself the Show-Me State, but some people there sure don't like what Texas is showing on their television sets.

"Why are more jobs and businesses moving to Texas than any other state," asks Gov. Rick Perry, standing beside a fluttering Texas flag outside the capitol building in Austin.

The answer comes from a parade of Texans, bragging about the low-regulatory climate for business and the state's “wide open for business” culture.

"Texas is calling," said Perry. "Your opportunity awaits."

Once again, Perry is stirring up people in another state with a Democratic governor, gleefully boasting about the business climate in Texas and inviting industries to decamp to the Lone Star State.

New York and California have seen this dust-up on their own turf, prompting California Gov. Jerry Brown to dismiss Perry's boastful advertisements as "barely a fart."

Now television spots starring Perry are popping up in on the airwaves in Missouri, where the Texas governor and possible presidential candidate appeared at a rally of citizens backing a state tax cut.

"We compete against each other," Perry told a cheering crowd. "And by competing against each other, we make each other stronger. And that's what this is about."

By appearing at the rally, Perry injected himself into a statewide debate over a tax cut proposal vetoed by Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon. Perry suggested that governors of other states would flock to Missouri trying to poach businesses if Nixon's veto stands. But he also used his rally appearance to answer questions about Texas taking jobs out of the Show Me State.

"You can be a part of states competing against each other," Perry said. "I think it makes all the sense in the world. I'm not offended when Bobby Jindal comes to the state of Texas to try to move people out of Texas over to Louisiana."

Missouri's governor has responded with his own radio advertisements tweaking Texas for having higher taxes than his own state.

"If folks are so simple focused that they think you're going to build an economy of the future by wandering from state-to-state and trying to talk some company into moving from one state to another -- especially if you're trying to talk them into moving to Texas, where their sales taxes are higher, their property taxes are higher and their schools aren't as good -- I mean, that is very much a losing proposition," Nixon said.

Perry's ad blitzes touting Texas rankle other governors, but it's hard to measure whether they actually have any economic impact.

"Well, I guess the question is, is he doing that because he's trying to help the economy or is he running for an office," said Dr. Steven Craig, an economist with the University of Houston.

Craig disagrees with Perry's notion that states become economically stronger when they compete against each for business, arguing that it's a zero-sum game that pits governments against governments in a contest that benefits some businesses but places unfair burdens on other taxpayers.

"Whenever I hear that our government, whether it's state or local, is going to try to recruit a company I always hope that they lose, because I know it's going to cost me money," Craig said. "And in the end it doesn't help the economy."

Whether or not it helps the Texas economy, all of this exposure can't hurt a governor who's considering running for president.

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