Saturday, October 25th, 2014

Rick Perry takes on Washington... state

Gov. Rick Perry on election night. Photo by The Associated Press.
Gov. Rick Perry on election night. Photo by The Associated Press.

Seems Gov. Rick Perry has enough fight in him for both Washingtons. On Nov. 4, the governor fired back at an editorial by The Seattle Times, which sneered at a recent letter Perry sent to Washington state businesses, urging them to relocate to Texas.

"I appreciate your interest in my recent economic-development pitch to Washington business leaders," he said in a letter to the editor. "Your editorial helps draw attention to the fact that Texas is ranked the best state to do business by CNBC, CEO magazine and many others because of low taxes, a fair and predictable regulatory climate, common-sense limits on lawsuits and strong public schools and universities... Seattle Times readers really interested in quality jobs and the very best place in America to do business should look to the Lone Star State."

In its Oct. 24 editorial, the Times' had thanked Perry for "inviting Washington employers to move to his state" and for reminding voters to defeat an income-tax proposal that was on the Nov. 2 ballot, which they did.

"They were personal letters, though the text of the ones we've seen is all the same, which is a mite tacky of you," the editorial board wrote. "Bad staff work, we'd say. Anyway, the letters, personal or not, are now public and they remind voters that imposing a state income tax would hurt the economy of Washington."

Then a one-two punch: "Since your letter was full of drum beating for your state, let us do a rat-tat-tat for ours. Washington is a very competitive state. We would not have Microsoft, Amazon, Starbucks, Costco and many other innovative companies if it were not. As a measure of business climate, Forbes has ranked Texas seventh among 50 states. That's pretty good, Rick, not as good as Washington."

What's this all about?

As his gubernatorial campaign was drawing to a close, Perry sent letters to about 90 "top employers and a few business associations in Washington" urging companies worried about taxes in the Evergreen State to relocate, according to an Oct. 21 story in the Seattle Times. In Tuesday's elections, Washingtonians voted on a proposal to levy a graduated income tax on the state's wealthiest residents.

"As the State of Washington considers a multibillion-dollar tax increase for citizens and businesses," Perry wrote. "I invite you to consider your future in America's new land of opportunity: the State of Texas."

So Gov. Chris Gregoire threw down her glove: "We're serious about keeping businesses here and attracting new ones to the state," she wrote in a statement sent to the Times. "We've consistently ranked in the top five in the Forbes list of best states to do business — ahead of Texas."

We couldn't help checking the governor's dig...