No, Californians weren't having a flashback to the election last week. That really was Texas Gov. Rick Perry once again visiting San Francisco and Los Angeles and appearing on their radios. This time, though, the failed presidential candidate wasn't in the Golden State stumping for votes. Instead, he was looking for something different: jobs.
"Building a business is tough, but I hear building a business in California is next to impossible," Perry says in a radio commercial airing in several top markets this week. "I have a message for California businesses," he continues, "come check out Texas...See why low taxes, sensible regulations and a fair legal system are just the thing to get your business moving to Texas." The ad campaign cost $24,000, according to Reuters.
As CNN Money points out, this isn't the first time that Perry has made his plea. He has been to California before and even written letters to several businesses, suggesting they flee their home state's high taxes and ongoing budget crisis. And according to Perry's office, some companies are listening. About three dozen companies have either relocated to Texas or expanded their existing Texas operations over the past few years.
While Texas has a few good things going for it — such as their low unemployment rate and already high job growth — an editorial in the Sacramento Bee bashed Perry's state for having the country's lowest rate of high-school graduation, highest number of prisoner executions, and the lowest level of workers' compensation coverage.
The Sacramento Bee also blasted Texas's environmental record, saying it has the country's highest levels of carbon dioxide emissions and the highest level of toxic chemicals released into the water.
Politifact dug into those environmental claims and found them to be half-true. Texas companies — including oil refineries, coal-fired power plants, chemical factories and natural gas processing plants — emitted 391 million metric tons of CO2 in 2011, the highest amount in the country, according to the EPA. California, by comparison, emitted 95 million metric tons of CO2.
The newspaper's chemicals claim didn't hold water, though. According to the EPA, Texas actually ranks fourth, behind Indiana, Virginia and Nebraska. California did not rank in the top ten states for toxic chemicals in water.
Perry's office released a statement to the Dallas Morning News, not to discuss greenhouse gases that could affect the climate but to praise "the economic climate" of Texas. "This is not about bashing one state over another," said spokesman Josh Havens, "it's about promoting competition."
California Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom touched upon the controversy this morning on MSNBC's "Morning Joe," where he was discussing his new book "Citizenville," which examines ways to improve the ways in which the public engages with government." The section about the Texas-California battle starts at the 3:10 mark: