Texas Gov. Rick Perry on Wednesday sharply schooled Illinois on "a better way to grow your business," bragging that the Lone Star State has added 2 million jobs over the past decade by getting government out of the way.
In an op-ed piece in the Chicago Tribune
on Wednesday, the governor tallied up Texas' successes against what he described as Illinois' failings, including "a budget that's far from balanced, with billions in unpaid bills" and "one of the worst-funded state pension systems in the nation."
"We keep taxes low so employees and employers get to keep more of their hard-earned dollars," he wrote. "We put in place smart, efficient regulations that don't bury employers in red tape. We've reformed our court system so it doesn't allow for frivolous lawsuits.
"We've made our schools much more accountable, helping to create and maintain a world-class workforce ready to fill the needs of any employer who moves to our state."
Perry, who's considering another White House bid after a disastrous campaign in 2012
, credited Texas' "fiscally conservative policies" as the bedrock of what he often describes as the "Texas miracle."
"[Y]ou have to accept that government should limit itself to core functions," he wrote. "When government takes over huge segments of the nation's economy, as the Obama administration has done through the Affordable Care Act and Medicaid expansion, it's a recipe for disaster," he wrote.
Perry said that although Illinois and Texas faced similar challenges in 2011, the responses were "a clear demonstration of the differences between blue states and red states."
Illinois raised taxes, he wrote, while Texas "made tough choices about where we would cut . . . and did not raise taxes on anyone," and now has been able to "restore in 2013 what was trimmed in 2011."
"Illinois still has a budget that's far from balanced, with billions in unpaid bills," he wrote.
"It's uncertain how the courts will rule on one of the worst-funded state pension systems in the nation. The Illinois legislature was wise enough this year to turn away appeals to extend the 2011 tax hike, but it still hasn't made the tough decisions necessary to bring spending under control."
He also bragged about Texas' snagging "Toyota's world headquarters from a blue state, California," but said Illinois will lose three Caterpillar plants to Michigan.
"Most important, by December of 2011, Texas had replaced all the jobs it lost during the recession," he wrote. "As of May, we had 880,000 more jobs than we had at the peak level before the downturn.
"Illinois still needs to add 190,000 jobs just to reach the level it had in 2008."
Perry also skewered Illinois over its job growth rate.
"Over the past decade, Texas has added more than 2 million jobs," he wrote. "During that span, Illinois has lost 7,000. Texas grew jobs at a rate of 3.4 percent over the past year — fastest among the biggest states. Illinois' rate of job growth was just 0.3 percent, the slowest among the biggest states."
Illinois Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn, in a rebuttal in the Tribune
, bashed Perry for "talking red state-blue state nonsense" and trashed the "Texas miracle" as nothing more than "a boom from oil and gas."
He bragged about his own cost-cutting and said the state was "making a comeback: Illinois has its lowest unemployment rate in nearly six years, and we've created about 250,000 new private-sector jobs since the recovery began."
"For all its size, Texas sometimes runs last among the states," Quinn wrote. "It has the nation's worst level of educational attainment and the poorest access to prenatal care for women."
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