The Brief: Top Texas News for Feb. 14, 2013

Gov. Rick Perry speaks with the press on May 5, 2011.
Gov. Rick Perry speaks with the press on May 5, 2011.

The Big Conversation

The drawn-out sparring match between the governors of Texas and California has come to an end — for now.

Gov. Rick Perry on Wednesday concluded his latest swing through California, a business tour that began days after the governor launched a radio ad campaign in California intended to lure businesses to Texas.

Perry had made such recruiting trips to the state before, but none had stirred as much political sniping between Perry and California Gov. Jerry Brown, whose characterization of Perry's ad buy as "barely a fart" — and the ensuing newspaper editorials and dueling ad campaign — pushed the rivalry into national headlines.

In a conference call with reporters on Wednesday, Perry said the back-and-forth hadn't left him with any hard feelings.

"This isn’t about bashing California; it’s about promoting Texas and the economic climate we create," he said, adding, "Gov. Brown might call it poaching. I just call it giving people an option of where they can locate their business and be able to keep more of their money."

Whether the trip proved successful, however, remains unclear. The governor, who met with leaders and entrepreneurs and held a reception for 20 businesses, wouldn't say whether he'd successfully lured any companies away from the Golden State so far.

According to the Austin American-Statesman, however, such efforts may have already paid off. The Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce says the number of relocation inquiries it has received from California businesses has risen sharply in recent months, possibly due to California's historically high tax rates on the wealthy.

"We have had tons of prospects and inquiries from California," Dave Porter of the chamber of commerce told the Statesman. "And the common theme is: the sooner [the move out of California] the better."

Culled

•    American Airlines, US Airways to announce mega-merger Thursday (The Dallas Morning News): "American Airlines and US Airways will announce a Valentine’s Day merger Thursday morning that will create the largest airline in the United States and, indeed, the world. … The new company will retain the American Airlines name and be based at American’s Fort Worth headquarters. But the company will be run by US Airways chairman and chief executive Doug Parker, who will take over as American’s CEO after the merger."

•    Cornyn: 'Long way to go' on immigration reform (San Antonio Express-News): "Divisions between Democrats and Republicans over citizenship were exposed Wednesday when the Senate Judiciary Committee opened its first hearing on the emotionally charged issue. … Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, cited a 2010 study by the Government Accountability Office, the investigative arm of Congress, which showed federal agencies have a less than stellar 61 percent apprehension rate of undocumented border crossers. 'I believe we have a long, long way to go,' Cornyn said."

•    Texas providers urge more women's health funding (The Associated Press): "A new coalition of Texas health providers on Wednesday called for more funding for women's health programs after the state cut off money to Planned Parenthood and other clinics. The Texas Women's Healthcare Coalition that debuted Wednesday doesn't include Planned Parenthood, which Republican lawmakers targeted in 2011 under a bill that prohibits abortion-affiliated providers from participating in a state health program for low-income women."

•    Lamar Smith: 5 reasons GOP should avoid immigration trap (Politico): "Before deciding what to do about immigration, Republicans should first decide what not to do. They should not buy in to the Obama/liberal Democrats’ plan to legalize every person who is in the country illegally. Republicans do need to make progress with Hispanic voters. But immigration is exactly the wrong subject to use to attract Hispanic support."

Quote of the Day: "My question is, why stop there? Let’s just raise it to $100 an hour." — U.S. Sen. John Cornyn on President Barack Obama's call for a $9 federal minimum wage

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