Texas, America’s Land of Opportunity – Pursues Calif. Businesses After Jobs Summit
By JULIET WILLIAMS
In a letter obtained Friday by The Associated Press, Texas Gov. Rick Perry urged those businesses to flee California as lawmakers threaten to dis-incorporate the city of 90 people where the city manager makes more than $211,000 a year.
“As the state of California continues to support legislation that causes undue burden and taxation on companies doing business in the Los Angeles area, I invite you to consider your future in America’s new land of opportunity: the state of Texas,” Perry wrote to nearly 70 businesses in the letter dated Tuesday.
“I stand ready to help convince you to relocate or expand in the fiscally conservative, low-tax Lone Star state,” he wrote.
Accompanying the letter are pages of graphs and figures noting that Texas has no income tax, lower corporate taxes than California, lower wages and a lower rate of union membership.
Perry’s attempt to poach California businesses came just three weeks after a group of GOP lawmakers from the state and Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, a Democrat, traveled to Texas to discuss job-creation strategies with the governor.
The California Assembly last week passed legislation sponsored by Assembly Speaker John Perez, D-Los Angeles, to dissolve any city of fewer than 150 people. That legislation now heads to the state Senate.
John Vigna, a spokesman for Perez, said the notion that jobs are leaving California for Texas is a myth that’s been debunked in recent studies.
“The fact is that Speaker Perez is fighting to protect jobs and businesses from the Enron-style corruption in that city,” Vigna said, referring to Vernon.
Perez said the size of the city in his district has allowed rampant corruption, with officials essentially putting themselves in office and paying themselves exorbitant salaries.
Many of Vernon’s residents are city employees or friends or relatives of city officials.
Mark Miner, a spokesman for Perry, said the governor has not previously sent such a letter to California businesses, although he has urged business leaders to move. Perry has sent letters to businesses in Washington state and Illinois in the past.
“Gov. Perry wants California to succeed. He believes in competition among the states,” Miner said.
California is grappling with a state budget deficit that now stands at $15.4 billion, after Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law bills that addressed $11.2 billion of the original deficit, mostly through spending cuts. His plan to call a special election so voters could decide whether to extend a series of tax increases stalled in the Legislature.
Texas also is facing staggering budget cuts and the specter of massive layoffs, with a budget deficit of $27 billion over two years.
In March, the state’s nonpartisan Legislative Budget Board released data showing the state would lose 335,000 jobs — both public and private — if a bare-bones House budget proposal became law.
Asked why Perry specifically targeted businesses in Vernon, Miner said only that California lawmakers should enact policies that create jobs, rather than hurt businesses.
The city of Vernon has drawn attention as its officials over the years have faced charges involving voter fraud, legal malpractice and misusing public money.
Former city administrator Bruce Malkenhorst awaits trial on charges that he spent nearly $60,000 in public money for personal use, including massages and golf outings. Before retiring five years ago, Malkenhorst’s reported salary of more than $600,000 made him one of the highest paid city officials in California.
He now draws an annual pension of $500,000.
Former Mayor Leonis Malburg was convicted of voter fraud and conspiracy. Prosecutors said he claimed to live in the city but actually had a home in the wealthy Hancock Park area of Los Angeles.
- Rick Perry Insults New York in Latest Stage of National Embarrassment Tour (burntorangereport.com)
- Editorial: Rick Perry goes job-hunting in New York (newsday.com)
- Perry job-poaching targets New York, Connecticut (woai.com)
- Perry job-poaching targets New York, Connecticut (reporternews.com)
- Awww: Perry’s poaching starting to annoy other states (hotair.com)