Texas to Toyota: “Howdy, Pardner.”
Toyota announced yesterday (04/28/14) that it is moving its U.S. headquarters – together with 4,000 jobs – from Torrance, California to Plano, Texas. Toyota will join Exxon-Mobil, AT&T, JC Penney, Pizza Hut and many other companies that either moved their headquarters to Texas outright or located major subsidiary companies here.
Credit Toyota with being gracious (or simply politically astute). The company is very politely saying nothing about California’s crushing tax and regulatory environment as the reason for their decision.
But no one is fooled. Frank Scotto, the mayor of Torrance, is quoted in an article on the subject in the LA Times saying, “A company can easily see where it would benefit from relocating somewhere else.”
That somewhere else is very frequently Texas. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Texas’s population grew by more than 1.3 million from 2010 to 2013. Those folks didn’t come here for the mild summer weather. They came because there is opportunity in Texas – opportunity that is being crushed by high taxes and heavy regulation in blue states like California.
Governor Rick Perry had a bad night in 2012 during one of the countless Republican presidential debates. But he’s had a near perfect run as promoter-in-chief for the Lone Star State. To the great dismay of governors such as Rick Snyder (D-Mich), Andrew Cuomo (D-NY), Pat Quinn (D-Illinois) and most especially Jerry Brown (D-CA), Perry has been on the road and on TV in their states promoting Texas as a place where business can be done profitably and with a minimum of the high taxation, heavy regulation and fear of frivolous litigation that plagues businesses in states where Democrats run the show.
Alone with their thoughts early in the morning having a shower and a shave, some of these governors may be starting to get it (emphasis on ‘may’). Jerry Brown of California for one has been getting his clock cleaned by Perry. You’d think that just once, Jerry Brown or some Democrat like him, frustrated and fed up with sluggish growth, stagnant population, corporate out-migration and soaring state budget deficits, would wake up one morning and say, “I don’t care if it’s a red state. Let’s try what they’re doing in Texas.”
I doubt that there is any such introspection among liberal talking heads. That Texas has brought such success upon itself on purpose is totally lost on the East Coast commentariat. Even as companies like Toyota validate the Texas model, the Ed Schultzes, the Chris Matthews and the Rachel Maddows continue to amuse themselves laughing at the Texas caricature of drawling, uneducated, unsophisticated, uncouth beer and bourbon-swilling rubes.
But that’s OK. Because we Texans are laughing, too.
All the way to the bank.