Rick Perry’s business hunt more a stunt

Posted Friday, Sep. 13, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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Gov. Perry’s latest economic-development raid on another state has sunk into a familiar pattern:

• Perry announces his arrival — this time in Maryland — with a barrage of radio and TV ads saying, “Move to Texas.”

• Local officials protest and accuse Perry of staging an outlaw raid on unsuspecting citizens.

• Perry lands to front-page headlines, TV cameras and radio microphones, and talks about Texas’ favorable tax and regulatory climate.

• Everybody gets lots of jokes for morning radio, Perry is home by the next Aggie game, and Texas gets the travel bill.

The governor, who once sold Bibles and reference books door-to-door as a summer job, will make his next cold call Wednesday when he goes to Maryland to peddle moving to Texas.

Perry’s past pirate raids have been to states big enough to matter: California, New York, Illinois. Maryland is barely bigger than Brewster and Pecos counties.

But on the list of “best states for business,” Maryland is no smallfry. The state is the 16th best state for business, according to Forbes (Texas is No. 7) and has both a better and more educated labor supply and a far better “quality of life.”

Maryland is a center for higher education and technology. The booming Bethesda, Md., area in suburban Washington, D.C., outranks Austin or Dallas for high-tech startups, according to the Kansas City-based Kauffman Foundation.

Appropriately, Maryland officials responded by emphasizing their education credentials.

State House Speaker Michael E. Busch, D-Annapolis, said the raid is “ironic … from someone who, when he ran for president, couldn’t even identify the three government agencies he’d like to eliminate.”

Busch guessed Perry may be coming for “our remedial higher education classes.”

Gov. Martin O’Malley, also a Democrat, chimed in by telling a party fundraiser Perry is “all hat and no cattle” and that when the two debated state affairs in 2011, “I kicked his … and he never came back again.”

Perry’s pitch targets O’Malley for raising taxes and for Maryland’s “rain tax,” which essentially charges landowners for paving that increases runoff into Chesapeake Bay.

Perry told Fox News the trip shows off Texas’ “competitive environment”: “If you’re afraid of competition, maybe you shouldn’t be in the game.”

Mostly, he’s competing for cameras.

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