Texas Governor in Illinois to Lure Business
By Brian Mackey, with additional reporting from The Associated Press
Texas Governor Rick Perry is in Illinois on Monday and Tuesday. He is trying to convince businesses to move to Texas.
Perry announced his ploy last week in a radio ad.
"This is Texas Governor Rick Perry, and I have a word of advice for employers frustrated by Illinois' shortsighted approach to business: you need to get out while there's still time," he said.
In Illinois, Perry has launched an $80,000 ad campaign, which urges companies to "Get out while there's still time.''
Perry told The Associated Press that he hopes Illinois is ready for competition because he's going to "bring it.'' He cites Illinois' massive pension problem and high taxes. He said Texas is cheaper and has less regulation. Perry has made a similar trip in California.
Perry said he wants to spark competition with Illinois and will do so by luring businesses away from the state. Illinois politicians are not amused.
Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn said he knows Perry -- they roomed together on trips to Afghanistan and Iraq. Quinn has said that Illinois doesn't need advice from Perry and such attempts are merely publicity stunts.
"He's a big talker, and I think people saw that in the presidential campaign," Quinn said.
Top state GOP officials have said the purpose of the trip is counterproductive.
Republican Treasurer Dan Rutherford was critical of Perry's visit. Rutherford is considering a run for governor next year, in which he would presumably make some of the same arguments as Perry about Illinois' business climate. Rutherford, however, said he has tried to be constructive.
"I'm standing up and saying that Illinois is a good place to have a business," Rutherford said. "It's a good place to grow a business. But yet it can be a better place."
"I think a part of the questions that many people have -- and particularly some of our larger corporations -- isn't as much as what our tax structure is today, but what our tax structure will be tomorrow," Rutherford added.
Asked whether he thought the state's temporary income tax increase would have to be made permanent, Rutherford would only say it depends on what the General Assembly and governor do in the current legislative session.
Perry's agenda includes speaking at a biotechnology conference in Chicago, and meeting with businesses. However, Perry declined to name the businesses.