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The Rick Perry Self-Aggrandizement Tour

Texas Governor tours California, but proof jobs actually move is slim

by Brian Leubitz

Texas Governor Rick Perry is set to tour California to poach jobs from the state. But this is more about Rick Perry and his situation at home than actually moving jobs. First, a bit about Perry: Texans are sick of him. I grew up in Texas, and was there during the governorships of Ann Richards, G W Bush, and Perry (plus a few more before Richards). Thing is, Texans tend to really like their Governors. Richards, even when she lost to W, had an approval rating in the 60s.

Bush actually did a fair amount of work with the Democrats in the Legislature, and was generally well regarded. Perry was another beast entirely. He came to power as partisanship was getting worse in the state, and exploited it. He didn't really need Democratic support, and so, he turned to the right. Perry, a former Democrat who worked on Al Gore's 1988 campaign, has made Texas government a far less friendly place.

It turns out that Texans don't really appreciate it, and a recent poll shows they don't really appreciate Perry anymore:

Fifty-four percent of Lone Star State voters said they disapprove of the job Perry is doing as governor, while 41 percent said they approve. A larger majority, 62 percent, said Perry should not seek re-election next year compared with just 31 percent who said he should.  (TPM)

So, here comes Perry hoping that a few good photo ops of him "poaching" jobs from California, our little slice of heaven that seems to be target #1 for conservatives. Why would that be? Oh, right, we are the center of innovation in the country and the world. But can jobs be actually poached, or is this more Perry posturing?

Only a tiny fraction of California companies move or relocate to other states, and the reasons have little to do with what goodies a visiting governor offers them to relocate - even one like Perry, whose state dishes out $19 billion annually in incentives to lure businesses to Texas.

Kolko's research found that from 1992 to 2006, the net employment change in California as a result of relocation amounted to a loss of about 9,000 jobs a year - only 0.05 percent of California's 18 million jobs.

In Silicon Valley, which is experiencing dot-com-boom-level economic growth, only a small percentage of all the companies that are closing or moving are leaving the state, said Doug Henton, CEO of Collaborative Economics, a San Mateo research firm that helped prepare the Silicon Valley Index, a study of the region's job patterns that was released this month.

"Somebody like Gov. Perry can say, 'Come to Texas,' but the amount that do is a minuscule amount" of the valley's job losses, Henton said.(Joe Garofoli-SF Chronicle)

In the end, many of the jobs that Perry does buy aren't even a good deal for his state. But, they sure do make for a great photo op with some CEO. And a good soundbite about cutting regulations, business environment, and other nonsense. Perry is out for Perry, he'll do what he has to do to stay in power. But this little PR stunt amounts to a whole lot of hot air from a politician that seems to have no dearth of it.

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