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Perry Defends Jobs Tour Through Maryland

Ben Philpott, KUT News

Gov. Rick Perry defended his efforts to bring jobs from other states to Texas on Thursday – and told critics that if they can't stand competition, they should get out of the game.

Perry will visit Maryland on Sept. 18. He has already spent nearly $500,000 on radio and TV ads touting Texas' low taxes and regulation in the state. Maryland is the sixth state Perry has visited this year, following California, New York, Connecticut, Missouri and Illinois.

"When you grow tired of Maryland taxes squeezing every dime out of your business, think Texas, for we've created more jobs than all other states combined," Perry says in a radio ad. "You'll find low taxes, limited government and a fair legal system."

In the ad, Perry said Maryland's Democratic Gov. Martin O'Malley has made Maryland "the tax and fee state." Perry also accuses O'Malley of approving 40 new taxes since he took office in 2007, which Perry says will cost Maryland taxpayers an additional $9.4 billion through 2014.

Appearing Thursday morning on "Fox and Friends," Perry said his tour is about creating a conversation about which state has the best environment for investors to risk their capital. He said Texas wants to lead a blue state versus red state policy discussion across the country.

"I truly believe that the states are where the real environment is going to be created," Perry said. "The real policies in this country that are going to drive job creation are in the states. It's the personal income taxes, it's corporate income taxes, it's regulatory climate."

Perry said he wanted to have a civil conversation about economic policy and did not want the visit to turn into a political public relations battle between him and O'Malley.

His visits have prompted ire and annoyance from the leaders of the states he's visited. California Gov. Jerry Brown called Perry's visit "barely a fart," when he visited in February, and Missouri's Secretary of State sent Perry a letter asking him to reconsider his visit and focus on his own state.

Most recently, O'Malley has thrown his hat into the ring. O'Malley called Perry's efforts a stunt and said he knows Perry does "that tired old PR gimmick all around the country." In a statement released Wednesday, O'Malley's office touted Maryland's public school system.

"Instead of engaging in PR stunts, Governor Perry should come to Maryland to see firsthand the better choices that have led to these better results," O'Malley's office said in the statement.

TexasOne, an organization that supports Texas expansion by raising national awareness, paid for the ads and the governor's trip expenses. No state funds will be used for the trip, according to the governor's office.

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