Texas Gov. Rick Perry is challenging Gov. Andrew Cuomo to a duel over which state is more business friendly.
Unfortunately for Cuomo and New Yorkers, he's coming to this gunfight unarmed.
Perry will begin a five-day visit to New York and Connecticut on Sunday to tell businesses why they should relocate to Texas. Recently, Perry fired his first shot, telling the Associated Press, "The new New York sounds a lot like the old New York. Higher taxes. Stifling regulations. Bureaucrats telling you whether you can even drink a Big Gulp."
Everyone in New York's political power structure should be angry about that statement - not because Perry said it, but because his words are true.
Texas has no state corporate or income taxes. There is no state property tax. While there are local property taxes for schools, cities, counties and special districts, Texas is one of the least regulated states in the country. Companies aren't required to contribute to workers' compensation coverage. Its biggest city, Houston, has no zoning laws. Not only does Texas not have a state fire code, it prohibits smaller counties from having such codes.
While the Texas governor is touting all that Texas has to offer, New York officials are traveling the state touting Tax Free New York, a plan that brings a Texas-style tax structure to areas around State University of New York campuses.
New York doesn't have a gun big enough to win this fight right now.
For its faults - and we need look no further than the preventable West, Texas, fertilizer plant explosion and fire in February to find a glaring fault in Texas' regulatory culture - Texas has created an atmosphere that fosters investment and growth.
Perry can be the biggest economic development bully on the block because states like New York, California, Illinois and Connecticut have ignored their faults for far too long. All of those states share tax-and-spend, regulate-at-all-costs mentalities that have made the states flabby and weak - easy pickings for a bully like Perry who wants to steal a weak state's lunch money.
Maybe being bullied by big, bad Texas will be the wakeup call New York needs to get serious about cutting taxes and government spending.
Cuomo and the other high-tax states can be angry over Perry's poaching tour all they want, but they need to realize the bully has a point.