Texas Gov. Rick Perry held a media conference call this morning to discuss his ongoing foray to attract businesses to his state from the Golden State. He called in from Laguna Beach, fresh from meetings with California business leaders and owners.
Perry has launched a radio ad campaign aimed at contrasting the California and Texas records on job creation and health of their respective business climates. As things stand, 69% of business leaders in California say that it’s harder to do business there than before, citing red tape and government hostility to business as reasons.
Along with the radio ads and visiting California, a Texas state website, texaswideopenforbusiness.com, also has a new section that targets California. The graphic leading to that section shows corporations — jobs — flying from the Golden State to the Lone Star State. They represent well-known companies that have already made the decision to relocate some or all of their operations from California to Texas. Many have relocated to the Austin area, which is becoming central Texas’ version of Silicon Valley.
“This is not about bashing California,” Perry said on the conference call. “California has to succeed, it’s too important to the national economy.” That in mind, Perry says the ads’ and the website’s purpose are to foster competition among the states.
America needs “strong states competing with each other to help the economy grow,” Perry said, but California is regulating itself out of competition, hurting the overall US economy.
How much California is hurting the broader economy is shown in a single statistic: It unemployment rate stands at two full points above the national average, and the state has fewer jobs today than it had 10 years ago. Texas, by contrast, enjoys a lower unemployment rate than the national average and has created more than 350,000 new private sector jobs over the past few years. Texas’ unemployment rate has been better than the national average for five straight years, while California’s has been worse than the national average since August 1990.
The ads plus Perry’s meetings with business leaders in California over the past week are having an effect. Perry said that traffic to the Texas business web site has surged more than 1000% since the ads went up on the air, and his office has received numerous inquiries from business leaders about getting help, and even relocating to Texas.
“This may lead to jobs for Texans,” Perry said.
It has certainly led to whining from California and the left, who apparently deem it unfair for a business-friendly governor to target a state that has gone far down the road of overregulation and overtaxation, hurting its own industry and creating a massive drag on the national economy.