Texas governor courts California businesses

02/11/2013 4:42 PM

02/11/2013 4:43 PM

Texas Gov. Rick Perry began his latest visit to California on a quest to lure businesses to move jobs to his state by promoting low taxes and lax regulations.

The former Republican presidential candidate began meeting with business leaders in the San Francisco Bay area on Monday. His office said Perry will meet with leaders in the high tech, biotechnology, financial, insurance and film industries during his three-day trip, but declined to name any of the businesses he is targeting.

The trip follows a 30-second radio ad that began airing last week in which Perry criticized California’s business climate.

“Building a business is tough, but I hear building a business in California is next to impossible,” Perry says in the ad, which was paid for by a public-private marketing partnership called TexasOne. “There are plenty of reasons Texas has been named the best state for doing business for eight years running.”

Some business leaders said Perry may have a difficult time persuading businesses to leave the Golden State, particularly in the talent-rich Silicon Valley, known for technological innovation.

Kim Polese, chairwoman of financial services company ClearStreet Inc., and former chief executive of software company SpikeSource, said she is glad Perry is spotlighting the issue of California’s competitiveness and the need for some changes.

“But the startup world is thriving here in the valley,” she said. She says startups are more concerned with issues like crowd funding and a ready workforce than taxes and regulations.

Perry’s foray to California is not his first, and other governors have engaged in high-profile ploys to try to lure businesses and jobs away from states that are perceived as less friendly to business, though it’s unclear how successful those efforts have been.

South Dakota’s governor’s office recently ran radio commercials and print ads in Minnesota trying to lure businesses across the border, and Wisconsin has put signs on its border with Minnesota that say “Open for Business.”

The governors of several states sensed an opportunity in Illinois in 2011 after that state raised its income tax, including New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who flew to Illinois to meet with business leaders.

California Gov. Jerry Brown, a Democrat, last week dismissed Perry’s $24,000 in radio ads as a cheap gimmick that would barely make a dent.

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