Revenge or Revival, Perry Raids Blue State Jobs With New Vigor

The long-reigning governor and failed presidential candidate is in the northeast this week to woo businesses—and spread the gospel of the “Texas Miracle”

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Jaime Carrero / Reuters

Rick Perry in West, Texas, on April 19, 2013.

Watching Gov. Rick Perry pitch the wonders of Texas to an audience is a little like sitting in the front row of a ’50s Broadway musical. It’s easy to imagine this good-lookin’ sweet-talkin’ Texas cowboy hooking his thumbs in his pants’ pockets and breaking out in song, perhaps launching into Mary Martin’s “Cock-eyed Optimist” or blasting out “76 Trombones” a la Robert Preston.  The former bible reference book salesman and Aggie yell leader is convincing, charming, and evangelical in his call for business to “come on down” to Texas and, judging by the numbers, businesses are responding to his invitation. But his high-profile pitches, including this week’s visit to Connecticut and New York have political observers wondering if the governor is selling more than Lone Star heaven.

“He speaks extremely highly of his home state,” says Connecticut businessman Mark Malkowski. “Not just the workplace, but the culture, the people. He says there’s no other place in the world like Texas.” It is a message that Perry clearly loves delivering and there is little doubt that his self-proclaimed success — the press releases on job relocations are a weekly product of the governor’s office — has bolstered his political clout at home. But as he stays mum about his political future and a possible run for another term as governor, these high-profiled, well-covered raids into blue states are sparking questions about his 2016 intentions. After his flubbed 2012 presidential debate performance when the ardent advocate of small government forgot which three federal agencies he would whack, could these blue state raids be a way to repair his image on the national stage?

“Gov. Perry has done a good job of dusting himself off and getting right back on the horse, ” says Mark McKinnon, the former Texas Democrat who advised President George W. Bush and helped found No Labels, a political consensus-building group. “He may get some snickers from the media and liberals, but Perry’s in-your-face economic caravan gets the attention of conservatives and business types who increasingly believe that something unique must be going in Texas.”

(MORE: Obama, Perry And The True Source Of The Texas Jobs Miracle)

Throughout his career, Perry’s appeal to business leaders has proved a boost for his political ambitions. Texas Democrats, who have been forced to the sidelines as Perry has enjoyed the longest run as governor in Texas history, have dubbed his relationship with the state’s business sector and its economic development engine, “A Crony Capitalist Romance.” The Texas Enterprise Fund, established and funded by the legislature in 2003 at Perry’s request, has spent some $450 million since 2004 attracting almost 200,000 jobs to Texas and it is just one of several economic development funds in the state’s portfolio.

The governor’s M.O. on these raids is to mix with business leaders at an informal reception, then make his pitch, says Perry aide Laurel Nashed. The invitation list is assembled from a variety of sources; some are companies who have contacted Texas Wide Open for Business, a joint public-private economic development office, also under the auspices of the Governor’s Office, that is funded by private donations.

Sometimes, Perry simply seeks out potential potential targets, like Connecticut gun manufacturer Malkowski  who heard the governor’s rallying cry at the annual National Rifle Association convention in Houston last month. “There’s still a place that loves freedom in America, where people can pursue their dreams free from knee-jerk government regulation,” Perry told the crowd. “That place is called Texas!” Perry made an even more personal pitch to Malkowski, one-on-one. “He’s really passionate about Texas, about how extremely business-friendly the state is,” Malkowski says.

(MORE: Why is Texas Governor Rick Perry in Illinois?)

A native of Connecticut, Malkowski, founded and owns Stag Arms, which produces an AR-15 type weapon. He is just one of several gun manufacturers in the New England area who are concerned about new guns laws passed after the Newton school shooting. With 200 employees and ten machinery workshops, moving his company would be no small task. Right now, he told TIME, he is being wooed by Texas and South Carolina, two gun-friendly states with low taxes. He will be on hand this week for the governor’s latest economic development foray in blue territory as the Perry pitch wagon rolls into New York and Connecticut, and he also has another private meeting with Perry scheduled. Malkowski has not made a decision on whether to move, but he admires Perry’s appeal. “If one thing, it’s a wake-up call to other states that business in their state is not guaranteed.”

Gun manufacturers are not the only sector targeted by the Texas governor in this visit — Perry also has financial and tech companies in his crosshairs. For manufacturing companies like Stag Arms, making a move is “not just folding up the laptops” and heading south. Many of the relocation announcements made by the Governor’s Office are piecemeal moves by large businesses. Raytheon recently announced the relocation of some of its high-paid corporate headquarters personnel to the Dallas area, while still maintaining other sectors in California, for example. But each announcement adds up. When Perry boasted in a recent Austin newspaper ad that in the last decade Texas had accounted for one third of the net gain in U.S. jobs in the last decade, non-partisan Politifact stamped the claim as “True.”

In addition to the personal outreach, Perry’s raids are usually preceded by a round of television and radio ads that feature the governor and his homespun, gee whiz pitch, often with a gentle  poke at the local political leaders. New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg is a target in the New York radio ad that aired  prior to Perry’s visit: “The new New York sounds a lot like the old New York. Higher taxes. Stifling regulations. Bureaucrats telling you whether you can even drink a Big Gulp. This is Texas Gov. Rick Perry, and there is a place where opportunity, freedom and innovation are flourishing, and that’s Texas.”

(MORE:Rick Perry Goes Job Rustling, Again)

Perry’s forays are met with disdain and a parade of Texas put-downs from some political leaders (mostly Democrats) and economic development experts in the blue states he targets. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo used the Texans’ visit to tout his own economic development plan for tax-free zones around universities: “So they are advertising zero tax – you can come to Texas and pay no income tax. Our program does one better, you can stay in New York, pay no income tax and you don’t have to move to Texas. You can live in New York.” California Gov. Jerry Brown dismissed the California ad campaign as “barely a fart.” And Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn dismissed Perry as a “big talker.”

There are also complaints about Perry’s “imperial” style as he rides into town, but as Malkowski and other targets of the Texas pitch point out, Perry really does lead a legion of Texans eager to entice “folks” to “come on down.” After being wooed by the governor, Malkowski said he was “inundated” with letters, phone calls, emails and invitations. “It’s not just a brochure in the mail,” he says. Many of the participants in the Texas is Wide Open for Business group are members of small town chambers of commerce eager to keep their communities vital and growing, Nashed says. While Malkowski acknowledges South Carolina has a favorable business climate and incentives to match Texas, Perry’s home state wins hands down bringing the small town, personal touch to the campaign, he says. It’s a style Perry will display as he slaps backs and schmoozes in New York this week.

Even as Perry’s latest ride north adds to speculation about his political ambitions, his office will not offer a specific time frame for when Perry will announce his plans. “Sometime in the future,” says press aide Nashed. If some wonder why Perry would run for governor again, Paula Burka, longtime political observer at Texas Monthly, offers his view: “The answer is simple: It’s the lifestyle, stupid. He lives the life of an Oriental potentate — even as I write, he is off in New York living a life of luxury, the best hotels in New York, the best restaurants, the kingpins of Wall Street, and don’t forget that state pension. By running again, he extends his ability to lead the Good Life for four more years, plus run for president on the taxpayers’ dime. Nice work if you can get it, and he’s got it.”

MORE: Lucky and Good: Rick Perry’s Lone Star Rise to Power

391 comments
FWGuy
FWGuy

All you "Right-to-Work" Opponents are really going to see wages plummet when the Democrats legalize 30+ million illegal alien workers whom most are all happy to work for minimum wage with the new Social Security cards they are going to get.  Democrats have just shafted the union worker big time !!

RiedmillerJames
RiedmillerJames

Right to work proponents are wrong

  • Right-to-work supporters hide behind the claim that right to work protects workers who don’t want to join a union or agree with a union’s politics. 
    But federal labor law already protects workers who don’t want to join a union or make political contributions.
  • Right to work’s true purpose is to hurt the ability of unions to advocate for all workers and serve as a check on corporate greed.

RiedmillerJames
RiedmillerJames

Wrong for the economy

RiedmillerJames
RiedmillerJames

False Claims, False Promises:  Why “Right to Work” Is Wrong for Everyone

The facts below illustrate why right to work is wrong for workers, businesses, and our economy. (You can also download this fact sheet as a PDF.)

Wrong for workers

  • These laws drive down wages for all workers, including non-union members, women, and people of color.
    Workers living in right-to-work states earn about $1,500 less per year than workers in states without these laws. The wage penalty is even higher for women and workers of color.
    (http://www.epi.org/publication/bp299/)
  • Workers in right-to-work states are less likely to have health insurance.
    The rate of employer-sponsored health insurance for workers in right-to-work states is 2.6 percentage points lower than in states without these restrictions.
    (http://www.epi.org/publication/bp299/)
  • Right to work makes workplaces more dangerous.
    According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the rate of workplace deaths is 52.9 percent higher in right-to-work states.
    (http://www.aflcio.org/issues/safety/memorial/upload/dotj_2010.pdf)

Hermione
Hermione

Even as an Independent/Libertarian-leaning voter, I am definetely not impressed with Gov. Perry.

I will give the man credit for trying to show interest in his own state, but not by buddying up to big business.  Jobs are one thing, but cutting funds to education, healthcare, infrastructure are not good ways to improve a state and it's people well-being.  Not to mention the fact that big business is getting to be no better than big government, it is a scary thought to have to endure 1984-style spying from companies that want to monitor every aspect of our lives, just to sell us junk.

StephenReal
StephenReal

The run for the Presidency has started already? Let's see Governor Rick Perry man up and try this political stunt in Iowa if he has the cajones. But he won't because he is more interested in political malarkey hucksterism to play the hillbillies back home.

RiedmillerJames
RiedmillerJames

Republicans sell ‘right to work’ laws as a way to bring business to the state. This little lie (lie #1) doesn’t hold up under examination, as there is no empirical evidence to suggest that right to work laws make a state more attractive for businesses.

However, as we have seen over and over again, the meme that corporations can’t make a profit if they have to pay workers is a lie (lie #2), and that is the premise of the first lie. Germany is a great example of what happens when workers and labor are valued and have a seat at the table, as exemplified in their “codetermination system”. This system requires, by law, the appointment of worker representatives to a company’s board of directors.

Now you might think, if you listen to Fox/Republicans, that any system where they let workers have a voice at the table would kill manufacturing. But of course, this is not true (lie #3). Forbes reported in December of 2011 that Germany, where they pay autoworkers TWICE what American autoworkers get paid, they make more cars and are very profitable.

RiedmillerJames
RiedmillerJames

How ironic when Texas goes Blue in 2016 partly in reaction to the governors pis poor concern for its citizens. 

HypatiaLeigh1
HypatiaLeigh1

If those business in the "blue states"  (no such thing) want to go to Texas,  then I say let them go.    Anyone with an IQ >100 realizes Texas is a moronic hell hole, with very lazy/uneducated personell, and horrible political management.    No smart business would move there, no matter how much this CLOWN advertises.    Those who desire to move from the "blue" state to Texas wasteland, do not deserve to continue business - and like most Texan businesses, they will fail.


Darwinism of business survival or death -- completely natural.  


Go for it, Rickie.   Your corrupt, moronic actions will always fail.

FrankBlank
FrankBlank

Once you get the businesses down there, you introduce them to true Texas politics: pay to play.

Then you let them watch to see if Gov. WhatComesAfterTwo can make his state's wages more like China than Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama.  The race to the bottom runnin' faster then Dale junior. 

BTW, re. Tx job growth: I taught a three week computer tech class down there in '06.  One of the students told me I ought to move on down to take advantage of the huge job growth to come.  It had to happen, he said, because Tx had not yet really computerized/networked.    

aztecian
aztecian

a redneck chasing redneck jobs for rednecks...who the *uck cares about this banjo red state anyway?

fitty_three
fitty_three

@FreedomFan

'Shore' seems to me that you can only blame yourself for your employment situation, what with all these hates chasing each other in your empty head for attention.

I recommend a 12 step recovery plan.

fitty_three
fitty_three

@FreedomFan

You found that oil shale yet?

Wassa matter? Did your edumication done git the better of you, boa?

fitty_three
fitty_three

Hey! @FreedomFan

How old is this planet and why do you think it might be important to know about things that actually happened before 4004 bc?

Hermione
Hermione

Second thought, I am going to amend what I originally posted.

Any decent governor should care about his or her state, and it should not be just for political purposes.  Whether Perry truly cares about his state and jobs - that has yet to be determined.  But I know people that live in Texas, that have jobs and will not vote for this man for POTUS, no matter how many service-level jobs he tries to bring to Texas.  Not the way Perry has gutted funding to education and so many other things.

markntexas
markntexas

@RiedmillerJames   Im not sure what information you are looking at to support your "Lie #1" but I guess you haven't checked the Texas economy lately.  Your statement "as there is no empirical evidence to suggest that right to work laws make a state more attractive for businesses."..Well thats just crazy on its face.  

Your idea of worker representation in a board of directors has some merit, but if I owned a business, I would run my business in a way that made it profitable and Id be happy to share that with my workers, to some degree.  However, in the end, I started the business (they didn't), I invested MY time and money (which they didn't) , I took the risk (which they didn't) and I, generally speaking, worked longer than they did and do to keep it going.  As long as I pay a fair wage and fair benefits, my workers will accept that or leave. They are, of course, free to leave at any time to work for someone else.  At no point, would I ever accept a worker representative having any actual power in my company.  Our country has proven that having EVERYONE in on creating ideas, inventions, ways of doing business, etc is the smart way to do it.  There isnt anything automatically noble about being a worker that makes you entitled to dictate to businesses how they run.

At least your lack of supporting evidence is consistent....you don't list proof to support your "right to work" beliefs and you don't list any to support how German workers make TWICE the (adjusted for inflation, monetary values) pay of American autoworkers or any support for how Germany makes more cars that the USA. Any one that knows anything about Germany knows that it has a very different economic set up than the USA.  When you compare apples and oranges and say oranges are better, any intelligent person knows that is a personal opinion.. not a fact. Thanks to our great education system in all our liberal states, most people don't know the difference anymore.


Read more: http://nation.time.com/2013/06/17/revenge-or-revival-perry-raids-blue-state-jobs-with-new-vigor/#ixzz2Wbg0lUf8

markntexas
markntexas

@RiedmillerJames Texas wont be going blue in 2016.. but we will eventually go blue... as will all the United States.. when the blue party tells you that you can have what you want and someone else will pay for it and when they tell you that your poor/bad decisions arent your fault and when they fix it so your don't have to listen to anyone say anything you don't like... WELL.. .. who wouldnt vote for that?

JackKinnerly
JackKinnerly

Texas has a long history of poor concern for its citizens (Google "Molly Ivins" for good stories about this.  I miss Molly!). The most severe and blatant pro-Republican gerrymandering in the U.S., Texas redistricting is already being tried in the courts, which is one way they've managed to keep things redder than they'd otherwise be, but the Latino influx (legal, hence voters), and, ironically, all those transplants forced by large companies such as AT&T to relocate from Blue States (so that they can be paid less and have fewer benefits) were already voting blue in their home states where there were already so many Blues that their votes practically didn't count.

All that has to happen is Perry succeed enough in forcing Blue voters to come to Texas to offset the gerrymandering advantage, and the native dissatisfaction can begin to be heard.

Hermione
Hermione

Governor Perry - hmmmmmm.

He thinks this 'jobs agenda' is going to get him in the White House.  If this was the case, then why didn't he pursue this back in 2011-2012? 

markntexas
markntexas

@HypatiaLeigh1 This posting isn't as sad as it is SILLY.  Texas has hundreds of very large companies headquartered here and more and more are moving here. The population is exactly what software, retailing, manufacturing and financial businesses need.  Well-educated, mobile, friendly and so on.  We do have alot of folks here from other places that are rude, dumb, partisan but we didn't make them that way.. we just have to live with them. As for horrible political management, the facts don't support you but I would agree that in places like Dallas (which is now politically owned by the Democratic Party) it is poorly run but that's a political decision by political and race-based leaders.....it doesn't have anything to do with geography.

JackKinnerly
JackKinnerly

@HypatiaLeigh1 When your job goes to Texas, it doesn't matter that your boss has < 100 IQ.  You get to go hang with them and learn to breath through your mouth as well.

strongmind1951
strongmind1951

@FrankBlank - I live outside Chicago Frank, what do you think gains you entry into doing business with the city and state here? Connections, bought and paid for with people who arrange things. 

jdahunt
jdahunt

@FrankBlank ....are you really that totally clueless......there is a reason so many people are moving to Texas for jobs...and its not for minimum wages...get a clue man.

jdahunt
jdahunt

@aztecian you must....why else would you care.....you must be just another uninformed clueless Obama voter.....go back to bed and quit eating so much gov cheese

HarshTimes
HarshTimes

@aztecian By reading, and ultimately commenting on the topic, it is obvious that you give a *uck.  

fitty_three
fitty_three

Then, I would consult one of those evile divil books about geology and find out where the Western interior Seaway was.

I'm 'Shore' you won't find a better way to cut through that Texas sized problem with ignorance you have.

markntexas
markntexas

@Hermione  Hermione, I forgive your ignorance about Texas because you do not live here.  Let me help you with some information that MAY make your hatred for Governor Perry lessen.  The position of Texas Governor is a weak one compared to most states. Most of the real political power in Texas is vested in the Lt. Governor. However, because Gov. Perry has been in office for a long time, he has been able to populate the state boards and commissions with his own people. There isnt any thing wrong with that so Gov Perry enjoys more power than previous governors.   The real issue for you seems to be that when the economy dips (and therefore tax revenue for the state), Texas cuts spending. Governor Perry didn't make that happen, but he supports it and led the fight to do it.  I was actually the person that MADE it happen.  I voted for politicians who would do that and made it clear that's was what I wanted.  I care about the poor and disadvantaged, but in our state, no one is entitled to a free ride.  It is immoral and unethical for those paying taxes to lose their jobs or have their income cut, yet still be expected to pay to keep state employees OR dependents at the same level of benefits (Texas does not have an income tax so the state's tax revenue is sales tax and property tax based). I'm sure you know people in Texas, but trust me, I KNOW MORE and while I probably wouldn't vote for Perry in a Republican primary for President, I would DEFINITELY vote for him as Governor over and over (and I have).  Texas is in excellent financial shape our economy is better than yours. You must accept that fact and accept that what you believe no only damages the rights of all who want jobs and freedom, but what you believe also damages people's pshyce and thoughts to the point that they no longer believe they are responsible for their own actions.


I have read most of the comments here, and, as expected, since it is TIME magazine, there are many liberal readers who's emotions overcome their common sense and they make foolish statements.  Texas is a unique place and I believe it will remain so as long as we do TWO things.  Retain our rights to elect ALL judges in the state and deny a state income tax.  If we lose those, we become anoteher failed state like California, Massachusetts, Illinois, etc, where the rights of a minority (political, social, economic, etc) are superimposed over the rights of the majority and a state government is created that rewrites is constitution to prevent ever losing power.  You are free to state any opinion  you want, but I would appreciate it if you would do whatever you want in your state and let us do whatever we want it ours... and we will see in ten years which state is in better shape.  Good Luck.

markntexas
markntexas

@JackKinnerly   Jack, it isn't that we have a long history of poor concern, its that we have a state constitution that is ANTI-big government.. thanks to Reconstruction after the Civil War.. the redesigned Texas Constitution created a weak state government and almost all the big issues have to be voted on by our citizens.  We dont allow judges to impose laws, taxes or "solutions" to poverty, etc so that a political party can buy votes with it. We dont allow unions to decide what they deserve from our taxes so they can use it to bankroll the election of more politicians who agree with them.

 I'm sure you do miss Molly Ivins.. she told some good liberal, biased, politicized, subjective stories.  One of the funniest things I ever saw in my life was a 6o MINUTES report on Ann Richards when she was Governor.   They were at the Governors Mansion in Austin and they were interviewing Molly outside.  I don't know if it was set up or real-life but suddenly Ann Richards came out to say hello to Molly and the interviewer.  She asked what they were doing and the interviewer said Molly was giving him the truth about Texas politics.  Ann busted out laughing and turned to her aides and said "Hey, y'all, get this... they said they are looking for the truth and they asked MOLLY IVINS!" Everyone started laughing and it was a great moment.... because everyone knows that Molly was a partisan commentator who didn't mind bending the facts or ignoring them altogether...she was a "Rush Limbaugh" for the left...without the radio show.

 As for your beliefs about gerrymandering, I can see that you dont like severe and blatant gerrymandering to protect Republicans, but you didnt mention not liking it at all.  So I guess if its in blatant and severe PRO-DEMOCRAT gerrymandering, like in CA, MASS, ILL, etc.. that is ok.  So  you arent someone who is fair about it, you are just a partisan Democrat.


I do agree about the danger of encouraging all these "blue" folks to come to Texas.  There are enough of us real Texans to offset them and the huge majority of them came here to get away from the extremism of liberal Democrats in their home states, so they vote for Republicans now and that helps us.    However, Texas is slowly turning blue because of the influx of legal and illegal immigration and the Democratic Party works very hard to let those folks know that instead of doing what the rest of us do to succeed, they will be happy to jump start them for their votes.  We cant fight that mentality forever.  I wish our side had the lack of morals and ethics about race and government that liberals do, maybe we could win back some wrecked states like California and Illinois, but people will not vote for equality or fairness on their own.  I remember a quote from a Athenian leader thousands of years ago (I think I have this correct) who, when he was told one of  his speeches had pleased the people, replied "Have I said something evil?"

HarshTimes
HarshTimes

@FreedomFan  Low information democrat sharing her ignorance with the rest of the world.  Cheers.

fitty_three
fitty_three

@FreedomFan

What? I asked you! Your the edumication guy with all the truth and stuff! 

C'mon boa, bark!

fitty_three
fitty_three

@FreedomFan

I'm sure you'll be ahead of all the oil geologists when the next opening at Texaco comes up.

And yes, if you haven't figured it out already this joke is on you!

markntexas
markntexas

@aztecian @HarshTimes @FreedomFan  Keep in mind you refer to a majority of voters.. not a majority of Americans... many don't vote anymore because they don't believe in EITHER party...I didnt believe in Mitch Romney myself. He wasnt my first choice.. I didnt really have one.. but to paraphrase Queen Victoria.. the alternative didnt bear inspection.

JackKinnerly
JackKinnerly

@fitty_three @FreedomFan Texaco ("Texas Company," get it?) had its refining operations bought by California-based Chevron, with most of its fuel stations being bought by Shell Oil Company (subsidiary of Royal Dutch Shell).  Texaco may still have stars on their stations and may be sucking jobs to low-wage Texas, but the owners live in far more comfortable climates, with favorable infrastructure and services.

 Rich folks have trusts to deal with pesky taxes, even in those states that have them.  Not-so-rich?  Expect to live in whatever job ghetto this increasingly common corporate/government partnership to the bottom sends you.

Because borrowing labor law from China works so well.

fitty_three
fitty_three

@FreedomFan

You realize your hatred for the educated isn't going to land you a job at Texaco either?

fitty_three
fitty_three

@FreedomFan

But hey! Where is that oil shale?

And if you happen to own or manage in the oil industry, don't be stupid and hire yourself for that job!

fitty_three
fitty_three

FreedomFan

I purposely tailored my question for relevance in your home state. It's a litmus test of your actual employability at an actual oil company in a state that has oil shale resources.

Too bad that swampland is about as close as you'll ever get to a high paying job like that!


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