- The Washington Times - Monday, April 28, 2014

Toyota Motor Corp. is seeking to move a large portion of its U.S. headquarters to Texas, as Gov. Rick Perry continues to try and lure businesses to the state with promises of lower taxes.

The company’s new regional sales headquarters will be in or near Plano, Texas, said three sources who asked not to be named as the plan isn’t yet public, Bloomberg reported.

The California-based automotive manufacturer plans to seek incentives from Plano and Texas for the move, which is scheduled to be announced Monday.

“It would be very consequential for Southern California,” said Jack Nerad, executive market analyst for Kelley Blue Book. “There might be some brain drain and tumult for employees, though it should be largely seamless to the consumer. This kind of thing can create some disruption of momentum.”

Mr. Perry began a campaign in California late last year that highlighted the state’s high taxes and encouraged businesses to relocate over lower operating costs.

“A year ago, I was here, in California, encouraging companies to look to Texas for expansion and relocation,” he said in the ad, sponsored by Americans for Economic Freedom. “Over the past year and a half, more than 50 California companies have announced plans to expand or relocate in Texas, creating more than 14,000 jobs.”

Torrance, Calif., Mayor Frank Scotto told the Los Angeles Times that he had no warning of Toyota’s decision.

“When any major corporation is courted by another state, it’s very difficult to combat that,” he said. “We don’t have the tools we need to keep major corporations here.”

During the past few years, Texas has been a big beneficiary of companies leaving California to seek lower operating costs.

In February, Occidental Petroleum Corp. announced it was splitting its operations, keeping a portion in California and setting up a new unit in Houston, Bloomberg reported.

Last year, Raytheon Co. moved its space and airborne systems unit to McKinney, Texas, from southern California.