Texas Gov. Rick Perry has been spending much of his time lately traveling to other states with the overt aim of luring their companies and thus poaching their jobs. In the run-up to his recent trip to Missouri, Gov. Jay Nixon and other state officials have been seeking to turn the tables on Perry.
In Missouri television and radio ads paid for by a public-private group called TexasOne, Perry criticizes Nixon for vetoing a tax cut bill while enticing Missouri businesses with talk of Texas’s lack of a state income tax and limited regulation of business. In a response, Missouri Secretary of State Jason Kander wrote to Perry advising him that “instead of launching a wholesale public relations effort,” he should “spend time asking Texas business owners if there’s anything [he] can do to help their companies move forward.”
Nixon also responded to Perry with his own radio spot arguing that the Texas ads are misleading and that, in fact, Missouri has a better tax system and business climate than the Lone Star State. Nixon criticized the Missouri Chamber of Commerce for hosting Perry.
Missouri media also reacted to the Texas campaign. St. Louis radio station KTRS refused to play the Texas ads, and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch produced its own version saying “Come to Texas… four million people who work [here], live in poverty….We have the lowest percentage of high-school graduates in America but we still manage to produce more toxic waste than any other state. So come to Texas and get a career in fast food….”
Good Jobs First has extensively covered the economic war among the states in several of our blog posts (for example, see Greg LeRoy’s primer for journalists) and in our Job-Creation Shell Game report, in which one of the case studies is dedicated to Texas. In the report, we found that “interstate job moves have microscopic effect on state economies.” Specifically, under Perry’s first seven years in the office only 0.03 percent of Texas jobs base annually came from corporate relocations. We recommended that state governments should spend time and money to encourage start-ups and to support expansions in their states, not to waste money poaching jobs from each other.