Texas Governor Rick Perry, a potential U.S. presidential candidate in two years, said companies such as Toyota Motor Corp. will invest where they’re least burdened by taxes and regulation.
Toyota, the world’s largest automaker, chose Perry’s state as the home for its new North American headquarters that will house about 4,000 employees. The Japanese company plans to finish construction as soon as 2016, when Perry could be a Republican candidate to succeed Barack Obama.
Perry, 64, touted the move by Toyota in a speech to The American Chamber of Commerce in Japan while also ruing Tesla Motors Inc.’s decision to build a battery factory in Nevada. Perry said he called Governor Brian Sandoval to congratulate him even though Texas lost out on the plant.
“It is a reflection of how money moves — money moves because of tax policy and regulatory policy,” Perry said in Tokyo. In response to a question about the so-called inversion deals criticized by Obama, he said the taxes on companies need to be lowered.
“You lower that tax burden, and the billions of dollars that are sitting on the sidelines get invested in building facilities and creating jobs,” he said.
The shift to Texas could put Toyota in position to be roped into the U.S. political debate in 2016. Jim Lentz, chief executive officer at Toyota’s North America business, has played down Perry’s role in the company’s decision-making, which he said relied on in-house analysis of 100 cities rather than sales pitches.
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