AUSTIN, Texas (CBS / AP) — One of them is a conservative Republican who often sides with the tea party. The other is a lifelong Democrat who has promoted gay marriage and supported universal health care.
But Texas Gov. Rick Perry and California Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom staged something of a bipartisan summit Thursday in Austin, where a delegation from the Golden State came to see how jobs are being created in the Lone Star State.
Both states are facing huge state budget gaps and public sector layoffs, but Texas’ economy has been stronger.
Newsom, a Democrat, said he joined the group of businessmen and politicians visiting Texas out of “frustration and admiration” over the state’s successful effort to lure companies here to create jobs. He offered — “lovingly,” he said — some observations about Texas’ job-stealing ways.
“I’m sick and tired of Gov. Perry coming to California,” Newsom said, applauding the Republican governor’s visits to company executives in an attempt to lure their business to Texas. Newsom even took a jab at his own party.
“I’m a pro-job Democrat …,” Newsom said. “My party needs to get back into the business of jobs.”
Newsom quickly threw in some praise of California Gov. Jerry Brown, saying the Democrat “gets it” when it comes to economic development.
Perry, who has spent most of his career skewering Democrats, said he agreed with Newsom about Brown. The anti-tax populist was channeling so much bipartisan goodwill that he also told the gathering that Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo of New York was doing “some darned smart things” in Albany.
The longest-serving governor in the United States, Perry has made job creation his top priority, and he has often criticized California’s high-tax, high-spending ways as economically ruinous. Clearly, he was more than happy to welcome the state Capitol a group whose stated mission was to find ideas in Texas that California could copy.
It was led by GOP Assemblyman Dan Logue. The two-day trip is not intended to bash California but rather to examine how Texas has been able to lure companies in recent years, Logue said. According to figures he supplied, Texas has added 165,000 jobs during the past three years while California has lost 1.2 million jobs.
But Texas is also facing staggering budget cuts and the specter of massive layoffs. Last month, Texas’s nonpartisan Legislative Budget Board released data showing the state would lose 335,000 jobs — both public and private — if a bare-bones House budget proposal became law. That budget would make huge reductions to public education and health care programs for the poor.
Perry downplayed the state’s budget problems — and dismissed the jobs report as “a bunch of bunk.”
The California bashing was gone, too: “California is one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been to in my life,” Perry said.
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