Governor Perry goes on a recruiting tour in California.
Texas governor Rick Perry knows how to start a rumble. Last week, he spent a mere $24,000 on radio ads in California, urging firms there to move to Texas, with its “zero state income tax, low overall tax burden, sensible regulations, and fair legal system.” The ad goaded Governor Jerry Brown into telling reporters that Perry’s effort wasn’t news. “It’s not a burp,” he sneered. “It’s barely a fart.”
But his insult generated dozens of stories about the differences between Texas and California, playing into Perry’s hands. He begins a four-day barnstorming tour of California today, touting Texas’s virtues to business owners.
The Sacramento Bee, the leading paper in California’s state capital, went beyond Governor Moonbeam’s sneer by running a long editorial that roundly trashed Texas and Perry: “Actually, we think it’s more than a fart. It’s a cry for help. Perry can’t create jobs, he can only steal them from other states. His campaign for the Republican presidential nomination was a joke. His beloved Dallas Cowboys haven’t been in the Super Bowl since 1996.” The liberal Bee then offered to organize a “book drive” to help Texans graduate more high-school students, suggested that the Lone Star State could spend more on “mental health services,” and quoted the late Texas liberal Molly Ivins’s put-down of her native state as “a low-tax, low-service state.” “We can afford to do better,” the Bee quotes Ivins as saying. “We just don’t.”
But several observers acknowledged that Perry has gotten the better of the battle.
“Perry’s getting exactly what he wanted,” Gavin Newsom, the former Democratic mayor of San Francisco and now the state’s lieutenant governor, told radio station KQED. “He’s getting all kinds of press up and down the state, and why? Well, because he’s leaning in. He’s in the game. He’s getting in our heads.” Newsom ought to know. In 2011, he accompanied a group of state legislators on a fact-finding trip to Texas to interview former California business owners about their reasons for moving. Newsom told me at the time: “I am impressed with the focus on job creation I’ve seen here. We need to have a more balanced business climate in California.”