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North Texas Business Owners Join Gov. Perry For California Recruiting Trip

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(credit: KTVT/KTXA) Bud Gillett
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DALLAS (CBS 11 NEWS) - Texas Governor Rick Perry is back in the Lone Star State after a whirlwind trip to California.

The purpose of the trip was to encourage businesses there to expand –or relocate– to Texas.

Some private economic development groups followed him on his West Coast swing, including one from the McKinney Economic Development Corporation.

“We knew this would be a pretty advantageous trip for us to join in on,” said Jim Wehmeier, President and CEO of the McKinney Economic Development Corporation, which still has a colleague trolling for businesses in California.

The trip came hard on the heels of last week’s controversial radio ads in California where Governor Perry roasted the Golden State over high taxes and byzantine regulations.

“Building a business is tough; building a business in California is next to impossible,” said the Perry radio ad in part. Wehmeier agrees. “With the way their tax structure is out there virtually any company can operate cheaper in Texas.”

McKinney joined Allen, Frisco, and DeSoto as cities who sent representatives along with Governor Perry.

They are part of Texas One, a private effort to lure businesses to Texas.

Tuesday night, it hosted a reception in California for more than 200 potential relocation candidates.

A Frisco rep told CBS 11 News by phone that lifestyle and education are also draws.

In a conference call today, the governor claimed cities that went with him have an advantage.

“I think there’s a real benefit for those cities to come,” Governor Perry said. “And I think there’s a real benefit from my perspective for the state to have real live business owners talking to their counterparts.”

He also doubled down on his views of California’s business climate. “California has made a series of bad economic decisions that take more money out of the taxpayer’s pockets and make it harder to create jobs.”

While some in the Golden State call such trips “poaching,” Wehmeier says they’re not stealing anything.

“Quite honestly California is very fertile ground for Texas. And they know it. Has been for years. And when you stack up cost of business –Texas vs. California– it’s very difficult to compare them.”

As for poaching? “I think the business missions get a little bit of a bad rap because Texas is trying to steal companies from other states, and that’s not as much the truth as they would think; certainly we’re going to talk to companies.”

He adds, “Call it what you may but California knows they’re at a competitive disadvantage, and I think they’re lashing out a little bit because of that.”

While Perry’s presence was high profile, Wehmeier says there are constant trade missions to California and three other states touting McKinney’s resources.

One example of McKinney’s draw is corporate headquarters for Emerson going up on the city’s south side in a location called Gateway.

Gateway one of four areas in McKinney being primed for business development. “We’ve got a lot to sell in McKinney and Collin County,” Wehmeier claims. And he says they’ve got a lot of space — as only a third of McKinney is built out so far.

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