Who Is Funding Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s Partisan Job-Piracy Trips?

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Washington, DC–September 18, 2013—Good Jobs First today released a study examining Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s unprecedented string of partisan job-piracy trips into six states led by governors of the opposing political party: California, Illinois, Connecticut, New York, Missouri and Maryland (today). It explores the funding behind the trips and the television and radio advertising that accompanies them, identifying both public and private monies that flow to TexasOne, which sponsors the trips. The report is available at www.goodjobsfirst.org .

“States have competed for capital for decades, but to our long knowledge there has never been such a red state-blue state partisan streak of job piracy as Gov. Perry’s,” said Greg LeRoy, executive director of Good Jobs First and lead author of the study. “Texas taxpayers have a right to know about the public funds that partially support TexasOne. And elected officials and consumers in every state may be surprised by our findings. Companies that serve national markets are paying Peter to try to rob Paul.”

The job-piracy trips represent an enormous surge in spending for television and radio advertisements that feature Gov. Perry himself. In eight months, TexasOne has spent about $1.8 million in advertising buys to publicize Gov. Perry’s job-piracy trips. That sum exceeds TexasOne’s entire FY2012 budget by more than half a million dollars, and is about nine times what TexasOne spent on advertising and promotion in FY2012.

The study finds that scores of local Economic Development Corporations (EDCs), funded by local sales tax dollars, as well as some city and town governments, and other local government agencies in Texas, form the most numerous group of dues-paying members to TexasOne and accounted for about one fourth of its revenue in FY2012. However, the federal tax returns of the non-profit 501(c)(3) corporation that sponsors TexasOne refer only to “private contributions.”

The study also points out that Gov. Perry’s press releases announcing his trips include a funding disclaimer that prompts more questions. They say state funds aren’t used to pay for the advertising air time or Gov. Perry’s travel or accommodations, but they are silent on local taxpayer dollars, and the trips involve many other expenses.

The study also finds 40 corporations funding TexasOne, including two dozen that are publicly traded companies or subsidiaries of such companies. Some serve national markets; some even have headquarters or large facilities in states that Perry is trying to lure jobs from. These include Lockheed Martin in Maryland and Citigroup and Verizon in New York. Others have significant facilities in piracy-target states, such as: the ExxonMobil and Shell refineries in California; the Union Pacific rail facilities in California, Illinois and Missouri; Capital One’s banking networks in Maryland and New York and Citigroup’s in California and Illinois; and various production facilities of Altria (Illinois), Lockheed (California and New York) and Novartis (California and New York). Finally, the study names consumer-oriented companies that fund TexasOne, such as     AT & T, Verizon and Capital One, and asks: would their customers approve of the companies’ funding partisan job piracy?

Good Jobs First is a non-profit, non-partisan resource center promoting accountability in economic development and smart growth for working families. Founded in 1998, it is headquartered in Washington, DC and includes Good Jobs New York.

 

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