With Speaker John Perez’s success in getting his bills on Vernon’s disincorporation to the Senate floor, the question is: Will Vernon’s “Texas campaign” intensify or is it just a negotiating ploy? Looking at the situation, it appears real.
Competition between states for businesses and jobs was ratcheted up a notch when Texas Governor Rick Perry took the unusual step about a month ago of writing to some disaffected Vernon businesses frustrated with the Speaker’s effort to fold the industrial city into Los Angeles County. Perez proposes to make Vernon a Community Services District in an effort to end government corruption there.
Vernon businesses and labor argue jobs will be lost if the Perez bills become law and the city’s business friendly advantages are threatened.
Governor Perry pounced, writing in part to Vernon businesses: “As the state of California continues to support legislation that causes undue burden and taxation on companies doing business in the Los Angeles area, I invite you to consider your future in America’s new land of opportunity: the state of Texas. If California doesn’t want your business, Texas does.”
Vernon highlighted the Texas effort in a print and radio campaign. Billboards such as the one shown here, popped up in Southern California. This particular billboard sits on the corner of 4th and Central in downtown Los Angeles. You can listen to the radio ad here.
Officials in California reacted sharply to Texas’ effort. A spokesman for state Treasurer Bill Lockyer called Texas’ job hunting effort in California “bogus.”According to the L. A. Times, the official said: “Texas has had about as much success capturing California jobs as Elmer Fudd did when he hunted Bugs Bunny. And the governor won’t have any better luck preying on Vernon.”
But they see things differently in Texas where Perry’s efforts speaking directly to Vernon businesses also made the media. WFAA-TV in Dallas reported on its website that Southern Methodist University business professor Mike Davis said: “Since 2004, over 140,000 people have left California to move to Texas.” Davis added, “It must be very frustrating for places like California that are seeing a migration out of the state.”
Now that the Perez bills are a step closer to passing out of the legislature the Texas play will get real. Don’t be surprised to see some business leaders take highly visible scouting trips to Texas looking for a possible home for their businesses.
Aside from the potential loss of a business friendly environment in Vernon, the business leaders in California are also hearing rumors about a potential split roll initiative to raise business property taxes as well as having to deal with new costly regulations as the AB 32 environmental law is implemented.
Is it any surprise that Vernon businesses would seriously consider a move to Texas?