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Perry trip aimed at recruiting Missourians to Texas, stumping for HB 253 override

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Former Presidential Candidate and Texas Gov. Rick Perry is visiting Missouri tomorrow as part of his continuing trips around the country to recruit citizens and businesses from other states to move to Texas.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry
Texas Gov. Rick Perry

Perry has made similar trips to California, Connecticut, Illinois and New York — all states that have Democratic governors. During most of these trips, Perry has made public appearances, held private meetings with business leaders and run radio and television ads promoting Americans from across the country to move to the “business-friendly” climate of Texas.

“I think this kind of competition creates a dialogue,” Perry told The Missouri Times during an interview. “It might be uncomfortable, but you know, competition isn’t personal. You can like someone and still want to compete. Wanting to be competitive with other states and governors makes me work harder.”

Perry’s trip has been planned for several weeks, but the timing of the trip did not go unnoticed by state Republicans currently campaigning across the state to override Gov. Jay Nixon’s veto of a tax cut bill earlier this summer. When it was finalized that Perry would be in town just a few short weeks before veto session, pro-House Bill 253 advocates reached out to Perry’s office and requested that while he was in town pitching Texas, he should say a few words on business-friendly tax policy.

A group organized to push for the override of Nixon’s HB253 veto, Grow Missouri, received almost $2 million from retired millionaire and frequent political contributor, Rex Sinquefield. Grow Missouri represents a coalition of businesses and individuals from across the state, and it was Grow that invited Perry to a special event tomorrow night to discuss Texas tax policy.

Gov. Jay Nixon
Gov. Jay Nixon

“We want our tax climate and our business climate to look more like Texas,” Grow Missouri spokesperson Anne Marie Moy told The Missouri Times. “So when we learned the Governor would be in town, we invited him to come and talk about his tax policy and maybe discuss the tax cut that the Republican Party is currently working on passing.”

In one of Perry’s radio ads, which some local Missouri stations refused to air, Perry says that “vetoing a tax cut is the same thing as raising your taxes,” and cites Texas’ lack of a state income tax as just one of many competitive advantages for the lone star state.

“These things we’re doing in Texas aren’t a secret, I don’t mind telling other states what is working and what isn’t,” Perry said. “You want a low tax burden so companies will come and invest in jobs, you want a favorable regulatory policy and you want a legal structure that is also favorable.”

Democrats for much of the summer have charged that HB 253 will increases taxes on prescription drugs and college textbooks, as well as limit revenue in a way that will severely damage state services. Nixon has frequently leaned on cuts to education, which he says HB 253 will make inevitable, as a primary source of concern for him.

Several Republicans have announced opposition to overriding Nixon’s veto, and whether Perry’s appearance tomorrow night with House Speaker Tim Jones, R-Eureka, will sway those members back seems unlikely.  Perry’s presence has sparked debate about Missouri’s tax code as well as Right to Work legislation, likely coming on the ballot in the 2014 election cycle. Perry has only visited states with no Right to Work laws and state income taxes; two things he says lessen their competitiveness.

Perry will address a private luncheon at the Missouri of Chamber of Commerce before traveling to St. Louis to appear with Jones at a separate event.