HH: It’s really depressing in California. I’m going to work and I turn on the radio, and this is what I hear.
RP: Building a business is tough, but I hear building a business in California is next to impossible. This is Texas Governor Rick Perry, and I have a message for California businesses. Come check out Texas. There are plenty of reasons Texas has been named the best state for doing business for eight years running. Visit www.texaswideopenforbusiness.com, and see why our low taxes, sensible regulations and fair legal system are just the thing to get your business moving to Texas.
HH: Joining me now on the Hugh Hewitt Show is Governor Rick Perry, who you just heard in that ad. Governor, welcome, Happy New Year to you.
RP: Hey, Hugh, it’s good to hear your voice, and I look forward to seeing you one of these days.
HH: I’ll tell you, you’re killing us out here. I need clients for my law firm. You’re taking them all down to Texas.
RP: Well, competition is a good thing. I look at this as just reminding people in California that there are alternatives, and frankly, you know, reminding the governor and the legislators that there’s a competition. Listen, California is an incredible state. I mean, I’ve come out there enough, and I love the place – incredible weather, you’ve got an amazing lot of things to sell. But the business climate is not one of them. So while California’s working their way through these increased taxes and regulations and what have you, the weather’s still going to be beautiful, and it’s still going to be a place you’ve got to work hard to get people to relocate from. But we’re going to be working at it, and we want folks not just in California, but across this country to know that we’ve worked really hard to create an environment, to create a climate in Texas that is really pleasing, particularly if you want to keep more of your money and grow your business.
HH: Now Governor Perry, Phil Mickelson, great golfer, made a little bit of news earlier this month when he said the new 13% highest rate for income taxes in California would impact how he decided where to live his life. Were you surprised by that? And do you have a lot of professional golfers who are taking a look at the Texas income tax, or lack thereof, and heading your way?
RP: Well, it doesn’t surprise me that Phil said out loud what a lot of people are thinking, and not just golfers. I mean, there’s a huge amount of wealth in California. There’s great companies out there that have helped people become very, very wealthy. And the tax burden has gotten to the point of even when you look out across a beautiful Monterrey Bay, when you have Pebble Beach in the background, or you have some of the other beautiful scenery that you have, people go you know what? It’s just not worth that. So you have California at this place where folks are having to make the decision of do we want to pay that much to live and enjoy the beauty of the state and the wonders of California? And a lot of them are saying no. So you know, a lot of professional golfers and professional athletes who can, call Florida and Texas home, because of that lack of personal income tax. Hugh, one thing that I do like to remind people is that yes, we go out and we recruit businesses in California. But we want California to succeed. It’s too important to this country. What we’re trying to do is get folks to really think about are you spending too much? Are you taxing too heavily? Are you regulating too much and hurting not just the California economy, but in turn, the economy of America? I came out last year and campaigned against Proposition 30. I campaigned for Proposition 32, which from my perspective would have allowed California to have been more competitive, would have kept their taxes lower. And so this isn’t about bashing California. I mean, it’s a great state. We just want it to be more competitive, because if California is stronger economically, America is stronger economically. And then, we’ve got to up our game in Florida, in Louisiana, in Texas. And that’s what this is really about. So I hope nobody gets their nose out of joint about that.
HH: Oh, heck no. I’m waiting for my offer. I’d like to have a studio built for me in Austin, and an endowed chair at the University of Texas, and I’ll come on over. That’s easy, Governor, if you’d send me the offer. www.texaswideopenforbusiness.com. While I have you, Governor, I want to ask you about a couple of other things. The Boy Scouts face an enormous decision tomorrow, I believe, and I’ll talk to Pete Sessions later in the program. I’m also going to talk with Congressman Thornberry of Texas. It’s a Texas day on the Hugh Hewitt Show. But I’m going to ask Pete, because he’s an Eagle Scout…
HH: …about the Scouts. What do you think about what they’re doing?
RP: Well, listen, they’re making, I think, a huge mistake. For 100 years, the Scouts have had a policy in place. They’re a private organization. And this issue went all the way to the Supreme Court, and the Supreme Court ruled that the Boy Scouts of America could decide what their membership requirements were, and that actively, outward homosexuals would not be scout masters, nor in the Scouts. And it’s worked really well for a hundred plus years. You know, Pete is an Eagle Scout. His son’s an Eagle Scout. There are millions of boys whose lives have been changed better because of their involvement with the Boy Scouts. And I think the national board to be pressured by pop culture, to make a change that for a hundred years has served well, as a matter of fact, they reaffirmed it seven months ago that the policy was right for Boy Scouts. Huge error, if they do change it. I hope that thoughtful minds will prevail on the national board, and they’ll not let a monetary issue, because I suggest to you, that’s what’s going on here. They’re being threatened by large, corporate entities whose boards are being pressured by special interest groups to pull away the funding of the Boy Scouts. And I just think it’s a very bad move for Boy Scouts, but more importantly, I think it’s a bad move for young men who will not go into the Scouts if they change that policy, and scouting could possibly become substantially impacted from the standpoint of not having the population that they’ve had in the past.
HH: All right, now Governor Perry, I want to turn to politics. And the first question is 2014 is around the corner. Are you going to run for governor again?
RP: Well, I’ve got a session going on, a legislative session. You know, we only meet for 140 days every other year, which by the way, is a great concept. Y’all should try that as well. And we’re in our session right now. Odd years, we have 140 day session. We’re about 20 plus days into ours. Long story short is I’m focused on that. Once we get June here, I’m going to sit down with my family, and give the appropriate thought to this, and make a decision on whether…we’ve been governor for twelve plus years, and loved the job. It’s one of the great jobs in America, great jobs in the world from my perspective. I love it, I’m passionate about it. And we’re making a difference in Texas and across the country. So you know, I’m healthy and happy, and enjoying my work. So I don’t see any reason to not necessarily do that, but again, no decisions have been made.
HH: I also want to quote to you Governor Jindal, who I went back at, I was at the National Review Institute with Governor Jindal, and a bunch of other people were speaking two weekends ago. Here’s what Governor Jindal had to say about people thinking about 2016.
BJ: Anybody on the Republican side even thinking or talking about running for president in 2016, I’ve said, needs to get their head examined.
BJ: And the reason I say that is we’ve lost two presidential elections in a row. We need to be winning the debate of ideas. Then, we’ll win elections. A majority of American voters think the government’s trying to do too much. They want smaller government, yet they still voted for President Obama. That means we’re not winning the conversation. We’re not presenting our ideas. We’re not in that debate as well as we should be.
HH: What do you think about that, Governor Perry?
RP: I think he is one of the most articulate, brightest, most capable governors that we have in this country on either side of the aisle. And he’s a great competitor. I love having him on my eastern flank, because every day, I get up and I know Bobby Jindal is putting policies in place that will make Texas have to be more competitive, or our businesses will be moving over to Louisiana. So he is a great governor. He is a person who as we move this debate forward into 2014 and then into 2016, will be a very active player. He’s presently the head of our Republican Governors Association, and doing a fabulous job. I’m a huge Bobby Jindal fan.
HH: One of those arguments he’s talking about we have to win is about immigration. Do you like the way that the Senate group led my Marco Rubio have opened the debate, Governor Perry?
RP: Well, we talked about it a great deal during the presidential election and got criticized greatly by some. But here’s the most important part of that discussion, and nobody seems to want to deal with it. Texas has a 1,200 mile border. We have to deal with it. We don’t have the opportunity to stand on the sidelines and say well, if I were president of the United States, here’s what I would do. We have to deal with it. And it’s about security that border. The border is not secure. We have people, you know, you want to have a discussion in America about whether or not people ought to have assault-type weapons with clips that can hold 15 or 20 rounds? If your ranch is being overrun by drug cartels in South Texas, you’d better believe they want to have access to that. So there’s two sides to that argument. But the fact is our border is not secure, and our federal government has been abject failures in securing it. And until we put the boots on the ground and use the strategic fencing and the aviation assets to shut that border down to the illegal activities that are going on, the idea that we ought to be having a conversation about well, what is the right type of immigration policy, that’s nonsense. Secure the border, and then the American people will trust that Washington, D.C. can address this issue in a thoughtful way. But not until then.
HH: Governor Rick Perry, thanks for joining us on the Hugh Hewitt Show.
End of interview.