Yesterday, the governors of Texas and Illinois squared off in a duel of words, both featured in the Chicago Tribune. Both men threw various claims against the wall, but in the end, just one set of numbers stuck: state employment now versus 2008. This was a first round knockout.
Governor Rick Perry of Texas threw the first punch with his editorial in the Tribune. Governor Pat Quinn of Illinois responded immediately (in fact, both were dated July 9 – go figure).
Now before I proceed with my objective analysis of these two well-written editorials, let me acknowledge my bias. I’m a Republican. If these two men were my choices for President in a general election, I would vote Perry 100 times out of 100. That said, Rick Perry was an awful candidate in 2012. I wanted to like this guy. I really did. Texas has been an economic success story for years and Rick Perry has that Texas bravado that you either love or hate. I love it. He entered the campaign unprepared (first mistake) and late (second mistake). As soon as he announced his candidacy, Governor Perry was leading in a number of polls. That was the climax of his campaign. He looked like a bumbling fool in his first few debates. By then, he had lost any chance he had even though he did improve, and this damage will carry over to 2016, should he decide to run again (he will).
But, Governor Perry gives a strong one-two punch to Illinois and other blue states in his Tribune editorial. Maybe he employed a ghost writer.
Perry first sets the stage in 2011, and describes how Texas and Illinois responded differently to economic challenges. He describes Texas’s plan as that of priorities, tough choices, a balanced budget and zero tax increases. They tightened their belts and moved forward with fiscal responsibility. In contrast, his next paragraph is all of three words: “Illinois raised taxes.”
Illinois governor, Pat Quinn, in rebuttal to Governor Perry, begins his piece with nonsence about Perry’s repeat tourism to Illinois. Governor Quinn then makes the accusation that Governor Perry is “gallavanting around the country to poach jobs.” Excuse me, but this is exactly the type of behavior I want from my state’s governor (Pat McCrory of North Carolina), and all citizens should expect from their own governor. There should be friendly competition for jobs and business-friendly climates among the states.
Governor Quinn then throws out a damning statistic: “More than 99% of job growth in Illinois comes from companies already here.” WOW. Did you really mean to say that? I get that you would expect a majority of job growth to come from existing employers. Maybe even 75%. But this 99% statistic means that Illinois is essentially attracting NO new employers. That is shameful, and not something the state’s governor ought to be drawing attention to. He should stop right there.
Meanwhile, back in Governor Perry’s editorial, the punches keep on coming.
“Texas was able to restore in 2013 what was trimmed in 2011, provide major tax cuts to employers, and still have money left on the table. Our rainy day fund is projected to hold roughly $8 billion, even after deductions to fund water projects and beef up our transportation infrastructure. Illinois still has a budget that’s far from balanced, with billions in unpaid bills.”
Governor Quinn responds with nebulous claims like, “In Illinois, we know about getting the job done.” He cites a “small company (Pegasus MGF Inc) that moved from California” – a known land of opportunity for businesses – NOT.
Governor Perry boasts that Toyota moved its world headquarters from California to Texas this year. Toyota versus Pegasus MFG. You decide.
Then, Perry delivers the knockout blow.
“Most important, by December of 2011, Texas had replaced all the jobs it lost during the recession. As of May, we had 880,000 more jobs than we had at the peak level before the downturn. Illinois still needs to add 190,000 jobs just to reach the level it had in 2008.”
To which Governor Quinn respondes: “More people are working today in Illinois than there were in the first month of my administration.” Talk about spin.
Perry piles on with “Over the past decade, Texas has added more than 2 million jobs. During that span, Illinois has lost 7,000. Texas grew jobs at a rate of 3.4 percent over the past year — fastest among the biggest states. Illinois’ rate of job growth was just .3 percent — slowest among the biggest states.”
At this point, the referee gives Quinn a standing eight count (someone throw in the towel please).
Quinn’s last, desperate claim is that Texas’s job growth is from oil and gas, so therefore the state is guilty of pollution. The fictitious global warming debate is fodder for another day, but see one of my favorite blogs for the BS that that is becoming clear in that arena. If each state would embrace, in an environmentally responsibly fashion, it’s own opportunities for our nation’s energy independence and job growth, we could re-establish our nation as an economic power and energy pioneer.
I could go on, but you can read the two editorials for yourself and see which is full of statistics and which is full of, well, bull.
Rick Perry, on his record, could be a formidable Presidential candidate in 2016. If he can stay out of his own way and let his record speak for itself, he can ride his record of job growth and economic posperity into a tight race for the nomination. At the very least, his model of getting out of the way of growth and prosperity is to be commended and followed by anyone seeking to replace the current, failed administration. Pat Quinn will have the fight of his life for re-election in Illinois.
Wake up, America.