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Texas Governor Rick Perry is in Missouri this week to talk about taxes and jobs. Chamber of Commerce President Dan Mehan says the chamber will host a luncheon for Governor Perry so he can talk about how not having an income-tax in Texas is working for that state.

Perry also running $200,000 worth of ads in Missouri to convince business owners to move to Texas. Mehan says that’s what governors do … they go to other states and court businesses. Secretary of State Jason Kander disagrees. He says to publically poach jobs is inappropriate, and stealing jobs from other states is not how to grow the nation’s economy. He says that it’s just moving jobs, not creating new ones.

At least one radio station has pulled the ads. Perry makes a dig at Governor Jay Nixon in the advertisement as well, saying “Unfortunately your governor vetoed a bill that would have lowered taxes and controlled wasteful spending.”

He’s referring to Nixon’s veto of a tax-cut bill, House Bill 253.

Kander has written a letter to Perry suggesting he spend his time asking Texas business owners if there’s anything he can do to help their companies move forward. Kander says Perry could bring a positive message to Missouri in that his state chose to accept federal funds to expand Medicaid … something the Missouri legislature voted down.

Read Kander’s full letter:

Dear Governor Perry,

I read with dismay about your decision to visit Missouri and run television advertisements to try and steal jobs that our businesses have worked so hard to create over the years. I hope that you reconsider.

Instead of launching a wholesale public relations effort meant to depress Missouri’s business climate in hopes of luring jobs to Texas, I suggest you spend your time asking Texas business owners if there’s anything you can do to help their companies move forward. If a company moves to Texas as a result of your sales pitch, there’s a good chance it will leave for a better deal in some other state in the future. But if a company starts in Texas, it’s more likely to stay there.

There are some great examples of that in Missouri. Consider Express Scripts, which was founded in Missouri in 1986. Not only have they thrived in the state in which they began, they’re still growing. This summer, the company announced it is adding 1,500 jobs here by 2018. There’s also Monsanto, which started here in 1901 and now has more than 21,000 employees worldwide. In April, the company announced it would add 675 jobs right here in Missouri. On the other side of the state we have Cerner, which was founded in Kansas City in 1979. Earlier this month, the company announced it would acquire 236 acres in Kansas City to build a campus big enough to expand by 12,000 new employees by 2020.

Those are just a few cases, but as you can see, there is a path to gain jobs by actually growing jobs. Simply poaching jobs from one state and bringing them to another doesn’t grow our nation’s economy, so I hope you reconsider your efforts and instead look at ways to cultivate new industries and companies in Texas, rather than just trying to steal other states’ successes.

But if you choose to come to Missouri next week anyway, there is a way you can make the trip worthwhile. I read in POLITICO that you are seeking $100 million in Medicaid funding for the disabled and elderly. Our state legislature in Missouri has refused to accept additional Medicaid funding from the federal government, so it would be great if you could explain to them why they should follow your lead on this issue.


Jason Kander
Missouri Secretary of State