First, California Governor Jerry Brown mocked a Texas ad campaign to lure jobs from his state as a “burp, barely a fart.”
Then Texas Governor Rick Perry escalated the battle with a four-day recruiting trip to Brown’s state, capped by a news conference today to boast of his efforts.
It’s part of a long-running battle over which of the country’s two most populous states -- California is biggest, followed by Texas -- has the best climate to attract jobs.
“It’s not about bashing California, it’s about promoting Texas,” said Perry, 62, a Republican, on a conference call with reporters. “The ad campaign is doing what it was intended to do: get people talking about the differences of California and Texas.”
Perry made the trip after starting a radio ad campaign in California that criticized the state for a recent tax increase championed by Brown, a Democrat.
Last week, Brown, 74, said of Perry’s $24,000 radio advertising buy: “It’s barely a fart. If they want to get into the game, let them spend $25 million, then I will take them seriously.”
Asked today about the Brown’s comment, Perry said, “we should all be thoughtful as we respond.”
Perry, speaking on the conference call from Laguna Beach, said he hosted a reception yesterday with representatives from about 200 companies, without specifying which ones.
Perry said he touted a low-tax, business-friendly regulatory climate in Texas. He said he sought to draw a contrast with California by describing its higher income taxes for top earners and a recently increased sales tax.
Texas had a 6.1 percent unemployment rate as of December, compared with 9.8 percent in California. Texas’s gross domestic product is $1.31 trillion versus California’s $1.96 trillion, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
Asked why Texas has the most U.S. workplace fatalities and injuries, Perry said his state has dangerous jobs related to energy production.
“You in California aren’t very knowledgeable about the energy industry,” he said. “We do have our fair share of on-site injuries, but it’s not because of a lack of regulation.”
Elizabeth Ashford, a Brown spokeswoman, responded to Perry’s visit by naming Texas companies that expanded operations in California, including Round Rock-based computer maker Dell Inc.
“We hope Governor Perry enjoyed his visit to the Golden State,” Ashford said in an e-mail.
Brown labeled Perry’s trip a political stunt, saying California added 257,000 private-sector jobs last year.
“Poaching doesn’t work,” Brown said in a statement on the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development website. “This is something so many governors have done before and with the same ineffective results.”
Perry is returning to Texas today, said Josh Havens, a spokesman.
Governor of Texas since December 2000, Perry unsuccessfully sought the Republican presidential nomination last year.
Brown previously served as California’s governor from 1975 to 1983 and won his current term in 2010. He unsuccessfully sought the Democratic presidential nomination in 1976, 1980 and 1992.