Texas Gov Shovels Cow Pies About California


Rick Perry, the blow-dried blowhard  recently re-elected as the Republican governor of Texas, was back at it last week, trying to puff up his national political prestige by dumping all over California.

This loudmouth clodhopper loves to boast about his economic development “hunting trips,” which he falsely claims have led a stream of companies to flee the Golden State for the Lone Star State. In that vein, he told a Washington gathering that  “California businesses are going to keep relocating out of that state,” according to a Richard Dunham dispatch:

In a speech to the Texas State Society in Washington, he cited California’s tax burden, its fiscal mess and its failure to adopt tough tort reform as reasons why its businesses are leaving. Unlike California, he said, Texas offers businesses headquartered there “a stable platform.”

Talk about big hat, no cattle.

The anti-evolution theorist Perry, who harbors delusional dreams of living in the White House, likes to travel the country bragging on what he calls the “Texas Miracle.” In this political fantasy, the low-tax, low-service government of America’s reddest state fuels a mighty engine of recession-proof economic growth, in sharp contrast to the policies of the  bluest in the nation.

But as the Calbuzzers in our Southwest Region and Turquoise Jewelry String Tie Bureau like to say: “Never kick a cow chip on a hot day.”


Beyond Tom Meyer’s splendid sum-up cartoon today, recent takedowns of Texas by prominent economic columnists, from the estimable Michael Hiltzik to the hysterical Paul Krugman have shown that, by a wide variety of measures, Perry’s miraculous narrative is a fabrication.

Because Texas has a two-year budget – and because it was propped up by billions in federal spending from the stimulus bill that Perry never tired of hypocritically trashing — he dissembled throughout his re-election campaign, bloviating about how his right-wing fiscal policies had put his state into surplus, while California wallowed in red ink (loyal readers will  also recall that Meg Whitman, who like Perry has but a passing acquaintance with the truth, often pointed to Texas as a model of how she would govern if she beat Jerry Brown. But we digress).

But when the bill came due, shortly after Perry’s inauguration, it turned out Texas faced a $25+ billion, two-year deficit (representing about the same percentage of its total budget as California’s), along with high unemployment, plus education and health care services among the lowest in the country. As Hiltzik puts it:

The bottom line is that fashioning fiscal policies strictly along low-tax lines doesn’t protect you from budget deficits or business slumps or make your residents necessarily happy or healthy…

While Texas Gov. Rick Perry sucked up to the tea party, declaring himself opposed to “government bailouts” and prattling about seceding from the union, he papered over his state’s budget gap with $6.4 billion in Recovery Act funds, including increased federal handouts for education and Medicaid. So when you, the California taxpayer, hear talk of the Texas Miracle, you should take pride in having helped pay for it.

As for those businesses that Perry has allegedly stolen for his state from California, well, as we say around the Calbuzz campfire, “You can put your boots in the oven but that don’t make ‘em biscuits.” The redoubtable Evan Halper reports:

Even Perry’s claims of companies that have decamped from California to lay down roots in Texas appear to be overblown. When the Austin American-Statesman looked into the Texas governor’s boast that there were 153 such companies in 2010, reporters found the claim included California firms that stayed put but maybe opened a Texas branch. The newspaper concluded that Perry’s figure was grossly inflated.

Perry’s staff said the governor was too busy to be interviewed in Austin last week. Media reports later revealed that he was on a five-day trip through California, which involved trying to coax companies east. His spokesman refused to name the companies.

We just bet he did.

Now when it comes to Texas, this ain’t our first rodeo. In fact, a mere 19 years ago (see photo evidence) your Calbuzzards conducted our own extensive, on-the-ground Actual Reporting about the state (key finding: no  coincidence it’s where air conditioning was invented).

So our well-considered bottom line on Perry and all his budget bushwah is this: Just because a chicken has wings don’t mean it can fly. And that ole boy thinks the sun comes up just to hear him crow. Anyways, he’s as fulla’ wind as a corn eatin’ horse.

Besides, we still live in California, and he’s still stuck in Texas.

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There are 11 comments for this post

  1. avatar Hank Plante says:

    From my experience working at a TV station in Houston for two years:
    Question: What has three teeth and an IQ of 60?
    Answer: The front row at a Willie Nelson concert.

  2. avatar Steven Maviglio says:

    Actually, it’s “all hat and no cattle.” As in George Bush.

    And hate to break it to you guys, but a/c wasn’t invented in Texas. http://inventors.about.com/library/weekly/aa081797.htm

  3. avatar Hap Hazard says:

    This is a cowpie story.

    Texas has no personal income tax. With a top rate of 10.3 percent, CA has the third-highest state income tax after Oregon and Hawaii.

    CA has the 33rd highest corporate income tax, topping out at 8.8% — Texas has a 1% gross receipts tax on business.

    CA’s capital gains tax is the highest in the US, but TX levies no tax on capital gains. California’s sales tax is the second highest in the nation and its energy taxes are the highest in the country.

    I think your emotional distaste for Perry has affected your abilities on this one, guys.

    • avatar ReilleyFam says:

      What you and those like dont understand is that for most Californians we dont live here for economic reasons. We live here for geographic and political reasons – weather & politics. Ask someone from SF if they’d move to Texas for a few dollars less in taxes – what a joke.

    • avatar pdperry says:

      Have you ever visited Texas?

    • avatar Donald from Pasadena says:

      As the Public Policy Institute of California reported in its recent January study on the California economy:

      “Rhetoric aside, California loses very few jobs to other states. Businesses rarely move either out of or into California and, on balance, the state loses only 9,000 jobs annually as a result of relocation–that’s just 0.05 percent of California’s 18 million jobs. Far more jobs are created and destoyed as a result of business expansion, contraction, formation, and closure than because of relocation–primarily in locally owned businesses. Business relocations, although highly visible, are a misleading guide to the overall performance of the California economy. The employment growth rate, which takes into account job creation and destruction for all reasons–not just relocation–is a much better measure of the state’s economy.”

      I’d never live in Texas, for all the reasons you cited above. Because of that state’s obviously cozy relationships with big business and Big Oil, which requires placing profits before people, Texas schools are starved of sufficient revenue to lift them out of the “Boy, We Really Suck” category.

  4. avatar chrisfinnie says:

    Texas may have lower taxes, but they also have more low-wage jobs. This means more of their citizens are struggling financially, with few social services to help them out. They also have a failed K-12 education system and low per-pupil spending. And, as for their tort “reform” (aka evisceration), they can keep it! All that means is that Texas companies are free to pollute the air and water, and surrounding communities have little recourse. They can kill and injure workers and their families can’t sue. So they just keep doing it.

    There’s a reason the late, great Molly Ivins used to call Texas “the national laboratory for bad government.” In case anybody thought she or Jim Hightower are humorists, they’re not. They just tell it like it is. Most of the politicians there are bat-shit crazy. And Perry is just the latest mad scientist in chief.

    Besides, I drove through there once about 45 years ago. I still remember it vividly. Most of the very large state is a pit. You couldn’t pay me to live there. People I’ve spoken to more recently complain about the filthy air and water, the failing schools, and the lack of ANY social services. I think Calbuzz has been more than fair to that unlovely and unlucky state.

    • avatar webster says:

      Hey, it hurts to read what people think about Texas. And even more so because I agree with most of it. Rick Perry is a disgrace, and sadly Texas keeps reelecting him. And shockingly compared to a lot of our elected officials he actually is quite moderate.
      As a proud, life-long Texan I’ve always loved my state, but I am so embarrassed by the people we elect as well as the people that elect them.
      There is still a lot to love about Texas. I just pray that some day soon the “pendulum” I keep hearing about will swing back to the left. And knock out a lot of people when it does.

    • avatar Donald from Pasadena says:

      Well, to be fair, I have to admit my affinity for Austin. What a great city! That place is an oasis in the Texas prairie, and its residents are really wonderful. Why and how they put up with the rest of the yahoos, I don’t know …

  5. avatar GeoHagop says:

    As John Hightower says, “A naked person is somebody without any clothes on. A nekid person is a naked person up to no good.” Perry’s nekid on this one.

  6. avatar chuckmcfadden says:

    I had a boss once who told me after he visited Texas that in the eyes of Texans, the very best efforts should be reserved for private business, while no one had to pay much attention to quality when it came to the government. “Good enough for government work” was apparently a guiding principle.
    Wonder if that’s true?

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