There’s been great consternation in these parts in the last week as the state of Texas is making a bid to recruit up and coming businesses, specifically to Austin, using Governor Rick Perry as a spokesman.
If he’s really running for president, this is a BAD move.
That Texas is targeting my hometown says that the maturing entrepreneurial and IT culture/infrastructure which now fairly organized and snowballing with some pretty big successes after fits and starts has been noticed. Not sure what other business he would be after, as the others are either pretty mature or have been bought out by holding companies or foreign conglomerates.
There is no argument that Texas is one of the few states with a decently functioning government, and is nowhere close to default. There is also no argument that when it comes to business, particularly tech and IT, Austin has an infrastructure that has been studied by any number of cities looking to be IT hubs. Quite a few Texas’ lawmakers have a good grasp – for the most part – on economic development and how states can assist business of all size start, grow and thrive. Texas has been making tax deals with larger companies for a long time, getting them to move from higher tax rate states and bringing lots of big salaried jobs with them.
(Southwestern Bell STILL sticks in the craw in these parts. Although, the alternative explanation for the move is that Ed Whitacre didn’t get into the right country club. It’s possible since General Dynamics stayed so long because somebody’s wife’s Bridge group would be broken up if they moved. Right after he retired, they did.)
Among chambers of commerce and in economic development, this is called “smoke-stack chasing” and everybody does it. It’s basically tradition, and some regions, notably the Research Triangle in North Carolina (a marketing triumph if there ever was one), have been REALLY successful using this as an economic growth strategy…although, I don’t know that they bought television ad time during their ascent.
At some point in the last couple years, there has been a flattening of the investment capital or start up funds available in Austin. Frankly, entrepreneurs are going to go not just where the money is, but where there is a community of talent and expertise to help them achieve their goals. Austin has proven that it has that, but for some reason the state chamber of commerce seems to think that they need to recruit more.
Maybe things have gone REALLY flat. Happens.
So, the state of Texas gets the governor to help bring innovative entrepreneurs from other places, targets a metropolitan region that’s up and coming in the IT/tech sense, and tries to, in the words of people who will actively campaign against Perry for president because they can hold a grudge, POACH the people that are going to help us remain stable?
(Since he was invited by the Missouri Chamber of Commerce, maybe this is a plot.)
It is no great secret that this state is not known for expertise in Economic Development. As a matter of fact, all eight surrounding states spend far more on it than we do, although we do have better road maintenance and a lower cost of living than most of them. Kansas, in particular, has been pretty successful when it comes to state help for entrepreneurs. Other states might well be attractive from that perspective for business to relocate. It’s all part of the competition game.
However, Rick Perry has already had fundraisers to run for president. He has proven to be a competent governor, and is one of the few people, I think, who could learn on the fly and be a respectable occupier of the Oval Office. He’s smart, and barring back surgery and pain killers, quite well spoken. He should be able to get past the 2011-12 mush without much of a problem.
BUT, try to poach the up and comers from the very states Perry - or any other republican – will need to win the Electoral College vote, and the people of those states may well get mad. Because, see, for us, it may not be “just business.” The innovative entrepreneurs are part of the solution in avoiding bankruptcy.
Plus, we have an attachment to them. Just as every other state in the union may have an attachment to theirs. Homegrown and all that. Human beings being what we are, will let that influence voting.
As the presidential race heats up and tightens, these are the sorts of things that Perry, and the other governors thinking of running (please, no more senators before they have executive experience), need to consider. From here to the finish line, everything is on the record and can and WILL be used against them by the court of the main stream media, fairly or not.
No more ticking off the “little” states. Missouri may only have 8 Electoral College votes, but very few presidents have won against the democratic gimmes without them.
Gov. Perry, please keep that in mind.