A combative Nixon blasts Texas governor ahead of Missouri trip

Photo: Chicago Tribune

Photo: Chicago Tribune

– Gov. Jay Nixon told a St. Louis radio station that Texas Gov. Rick Perry has “crossed a line” with a set of television and radio ads criticizing Missouri’s business climate ahead of a trip to the state later this week.

Speaking with KTRS, a station that publicly pulled Perry’s ads which were critical of the Missouri Democrat’s veto of income tax legislation and urged Missouri businesses to move to Texas, Nixon said he felt Perry’s ad was “distasteful” and “flat-out wrong.”

“I recommend when he comes to Missouri next week to be with the Missouri state chamber, that he go to a store and buy something, because he’ll notice it is cheaper in Missouri because we have a lower sales tax rate; maybe he ought to look at buying a house, because our property taxes are way lower than they are in Texas; and he won’t have any trouble getting someone who can help him add up the numbers because our kids ACT scores are way higher than the kids in Texas,” Nixon said.

Nixon said Perry, a Republican, “has a misunderstanding of this bill that raises taxes on prescription drugs — he forgot to mention that in little diatribe,” adding that the provision has been cited by a handful of local business groups in Columbia, Fulton, Kansas City, and Springfield in announcing their opposition to the legislation, House Bill 253. Nixon said it was “disturbing” that there was such distance between the handful of local chambers and the state chamber “bringing this guy in.”

Nixon said Perry was wasting resources in running the commercials in Missouri because he felt no Missouri business would actually respond to the ads, and accused Perry of perhaps having a political motive for the campaign.

“I’ve been at this a long time and I certainly respect people’s rights to say what they want and to try to attract attention to themselves when they’re not going to run anymore so there will be some level of attention around them to try to make themselves relevant to the political discourse, and they’re entitled to do that,” he said. “But when it comes to the business of attacking our state and our local chambers that are working hard everyday with us to create jobs, that will get my dander up a little bit.”

Over the weekend, Nixon’s office blasted Texas’s economic climate in a series of posts on Twitter labeled, “#BetterThanTX.” Nixon had stayed relatively quiet about Perry’s trip until late last week, when Missouri Secretary of State Jason Kander, a fellow Democrat, sent Perry a letter urging him to focus inward and not on “poaching” Missouri businesses.

A Perry spokeswoman said last week that the trip, which was similar to other trips Perry has made this year to states with Democratic governors, was not only about attracting businesses to Texas, but also about increasing competition between states.

“Missouri’s success is important to our economic strength as a nation, and if Texas can push Missouri to implement more competitive economic policies, we all benefit,” spokeswoman Lucy Nashed said.

Perry’s statewide ad campaign comes ahead of a trip to St. Louis on Thursday on behalf of a coalition of business groups pushing for a veto override.