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Missouri Secretary of State Asks Perry to Stay Away

In a letter to Gov. Rick Perry, Missouri Secretary of State Jason Kander has asked the governor to reconsider his visit to that state next week to recruit jobs and instead urge him to focus on creating jobs in Texas.

Gov. Rick Perry speaks to media after the groundbreaking ceremony of the Teletón USA children's rehabilitation center in San Antonio on Aug. 6, 2013.

Missouri Secretary of State Jason Kander has asked Gov. Rick Perry to reconsider his visit to the state next week, calling the governor’s efforts to lure businesses to Texas a “wholesale public relations effort.”

In a letter sent to Perry’s office, Kander said the governor, who is set to travel to Missouri on Aug. 29, should focus on growing businesses and helping local companies in Texas instead of stealing jobs from other states. Perry is scheduled to meet with Missouri business leaders and employers to promote Texas’ low taxes and try to draw companies to the state.

Simply poaching jobs from one state and bringing them to another doesn’t grow our nation’s economy, so I hope you reconsider your efforts and instead look at ways to cultivate new industries and companies in Texas, rather than just trying to steal other states’ successes,” Kander wrote.

Josh Havens, a spokesman for Perry, said the governor believes in competition among states that pushes them to challenge one another for jobs and create policies that are beneficial to businesses.

“As he has done across the country and around the world, Gov. Perry is sharing Texas’ economic success story with families and employers in states that have made it harder for companies to do business,” Havens said.

Earlier this year, Perry visited New York in a similar effort, criticizing that state for what he called its over-taxation and overbearing regulation. Perry relies on the Texas Enterprise Fund and the Emerging Technology Fund, state business incentive funds, to close the deal with businesses that are expected to create jobs by providing millions in tax dollars as incentives.

Perry has also launched a television and radio advertisement campaign in Missouri, including $106,400 in television media. 

In a radio advertisement, Perry suggests that Texas offers stability Missouri cannot provide to employers and workers. He also slams Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon, a Democrat, for vetoing a bill that would have cut taxes and controlled spending.

“Every year more than $40 million are leaving Missouri for the Lone Star State because Missouri families and businesses know Texas is a great place to live and work,” Perry says in the ad.

Perry also touts that Texas is one of seven states without an income tax, as opposed to Missouri, which imposes both personal and corporate income taxes.

In his letter, Kander, a Democrat, also indirectly criticized Perry for seeking $100 million in federal Medicaid funding from a program created under “Obamacare” despite the governor's opposition to the federal health care reform that would have expanded Medicaid services. It's a claim Perry’s office has disputed.

“Our state legislature in Missouri has refused to accept additional Medicaid funding from the federal government,” Kander wrote in the letter. “So it would be great if you could explain to them why they should follow your lead on this issue.”

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