- The Washington Times - Sunday, September 1, 2013

In the hunting world, what Texas Gov. Rick Perry is trying to do would be called poaching.

The three-term Republican governor has made explicit overtures to companies in five Democrat-led states this year, urging the employers to pick up and move to Texas, where he promises they can join the “Texas miracle” economy.

Mr. Perry says the competition is good for all sides — and it doesn’t hurt that it keeps his name in the news as he ponders another bid for the presidency in 2016.

Just last week, Mr. Perry visited Missouri to make his case personally.

Meanwhile Texas One, the public-private partnership that Mr. Perry launched a decade ago to market Texas, sank more than $200,000 into television and radio ads attacking Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon, a Democrat, for blocking an income-tax cut that passed the state’s GOP-controlled legislature this summer.

“Unfortunately, your governor vetoed a bill that would have lowered taxes and controlled wasteful spending, making Missouri more competitive. Vetoing a tax cut is the same thing as raising your taxes,” Mr. Perry says in the radio ad.

The beef escalated Thursday with the Texan saying it was only natural he would want to poach.

“If they see the continual taxation burden in Missouri, it’s not just going to be Rick Perry showing up in Missouri knocking on the doors of all the businesses,” Mr. Perry said.

Mr. Nixon countered that Mr. Perry’s ads are misleading, and he released a radio spot of his own that said business will not move to Texas because Missouri has lower property and sales taxes, better schools and graduation rates, and a 6.8 percent unemployment rate that is below the national average.

“And as for the governor of Texas, he’ll learn, you don’t mess with folks here in the Show-Me State,” Mr. Nixon said.

Mr. Nixon also criticized the Missouri Chamber of Commerce, which came under fire for hosting Mr. Perry. The chamber, though, stood its ground.

“The mission of the Missouri chamber is to advance and protect Missouri employers,” said Karen Buschmann, a chamber spokeswoman. “Taking an active role in the campaign to provide a tax break that can help our state grow ties directly to that mission. Learning about what works from the leader of the fastest-growing state in the nation also aligns with that mission. To characterize it as anything else is simply not accurate.”

The Illinois Chamber of Commerce was more critical of Mr. Perry’s visit to their state in April.

Rick Perry’s approach toward raiding Illinois in search of future Texas employers was louder, more self-promoting and bombastic than we have typically experienced when other governors have made similar visits,” said Lisa Weitzel, a chamber spokeswoman.

Mr. Perry has also visited and run ads in New York, California and Connecticut.

Mr. Perry argues that under his leadership, Texas has been a key engine of economic growth for the whole country.

He says that 30 percent of all net new jobs created over the past decade have been in Texas, and his state created the most private-sector jobs of any state from July 2012 to July 2013.

Plus, he says, the state’s 6.5 percent unemployment is below the national average and Texas has been named the best state to do business for nine years in a row in a survey of more than 700 CEOs conducted by Chief Executive Magazine.

Mr. Perry made his Texas miracle argument during his 2012 presidential bid. But the campaign stumbled early and he never recovered.

Earlier this year, he announced he would not seek a fourth term as Texas governor, renewing speculation he might try for national office again.

Democrats are eager to kneecap him now.

“Under Rick Perry’s ‘leadership,’ Texas’ unemployment rate went up, the state had the second-highest number of workers making minimum wage or less and his imbalanced tax policies have placed a heavy burden on the poor while allowing the wealthiest 1 percent to get by without paying their fair share,” said Michael Czin, a spokesman for the Democratic National Committee.

“Texans would be well served if Gov. Perry spent a little more time in Texas fixing the state’s systemic economic problems and a little less time boasting to out-of-state voters and businesses about a Texas miracle that never was.”