CHESTERFIELD, Mo. — Texas Gov. Rick Perry joined the Grow Missouri coalition today in Chesterfield, Mo., to talk about overriding the veto of House Bill 253 and to discuss why he thinks the Texas economic and business climate is something Missouri should strive toward.
After Perry took more than $100,000 out in advertising in Missouri last week for a campaign that encourages businesses to pursue doing business in Texas, the controversy around his visit exploded.
Gov. Jay Nixon has commented on the visit multiple times at events during the last few days in an attempt to defend Missouri’s economic and business climate against Texas.
During tonight’s event, Perry told the crowd that he is essentially trying to increase competitiveness between states, adding that it isn’t about Missouri or Texas, “it’s about America.”
“The fact is this: I truly believe that if you free-up individuals from over taxation, from over regulation, from over litigation, you make sure that you have public schools that are still delivering and skilled workforces, nobody is going to leave Missouri and leave anywhere,” Perry told the crowd, eliciting cheers.
A portion of his speech was touting the efforts of the Texas government in the realms of job creation, regulations and, of course, taxes. However, multiple times during the speech he came back to his idea of Missouri growing in competitiveness with other states, and HB 253 being an avenue to do so.
“If you truly believe this state can compete, will compete, then put tax structure in place that sends the message ‘we’re going to free you from taxation,’” he said.
Perry said that through overriding HB 253, the legislature could send a message to the country “that Missouri is back open for business”
Before Perry spoke, House Speaker Tim Jones, R-Eureka, addressed the crowd in a speech that directly questioned and attacked Nixon’s leadership.
Jones said that not since “OTB” (“One-term Bob [Holden]”) has Missouri had a governor “with less of an agenda” and less leadership.
“I’ve had to sit in the House chamber and listen to five years of lofty speeches and flowing rhetoric,” Jones said. “I’ve done it so you don’t have to. But, I’ve heard no plan. I’ve heard no vision.”
Earlier today, Nixon spoke about potential effects of HB 253 in Richmond Heights, and again later, though more on the education front, in Centralia.
The intention, advocates said, was to bring Perry to Missouri to motivate. According to several at the event, that was a success.
After the event, Jones told The Missouri Times that he thinks it was important for Perry to speak because his “policies in his state have proven to be an economic success.”
Jones said the Texas governor’s message was inaccurately portrayed in the media in terms of coming to Missouri to lure jobs away.
“Gov. Perry’s message is ‘if you emulate the pro-business, pro-jobs and pro-growth policies that we have in Texas, you will grow Missouri,” Jones said, adding that he thinks Perry’s message “absolutely works” and has been proven in the way people move to what he referred to as “red states.”
Rep. Sue Allen, R-Town and Country, said the event served its purpose of “getting people fired up to recognize what [HB 253] means to the state.”
Allen said she attended an event earlier during the day to hear Nixon speak. During his speech, she said he mentioned costs from HB 253 costing two different amounts.
“I always say if you speak the truth, you only have one set of numbers,” she said, adding that it’s crucial that the legislature “make that vote,” referring to veto session in just less than two weeks.
Missouri’s governor, Nixon, has been touring the state discussing his office’s concerns about the income tax bill, and according to emails about coming events, the tour will continue as veto session approaches.
Ashley Jost is no longer with The Missouri Times. She worked as the executive editor for several months, and a reporter before that.