Perry Poaches, Cuomo Counters, Malloy Muted

Join Brad Drazen, Kerri-Lee Mayland and me Monday morning at 6:30 on NBC Connecticut as we discuss Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s visit to Connecticut

If even for appearances sake, it’s probably not a good idea for Gov. Dannel Malloy to be pursuing his national ambitions while Texas Gov. Rick Perry looks to pilfer Connecticut businesses and talking smack about the Nutmeg State. At the very least, Malloy should counterpunch a bit. It’s not like there aren’t ample openings. Perry’s from Texas for goodness sake.

Perry is coming to the northeast Sunday and will presumably meet with business leaders in Connecticut Monday. Gun manufacturers are among his targets. He’ll make a pitch them in Hartford. And his non-Texas-taxpayer-funded group dropped $1 million on TV and radio ads telling the good people of the great states of Connecticut and New York why they’d love it in the heat-stroke inducing Lone Star State.

Economic development officials from one state trying to lure business from another state is nothing new. What is new is how Perry’s doing it. These things are usually done stealthily, on the DL. But Perry seems to be enjoying trumpeting the fact that he’s on the prowl for Yankee ingenuity.

Texas, at least at first glance, has the numbers on its side. It has no income tax, little regulation, it added more than a half million jobs since 2008 (how many of them are minimum wage?), and according to the “Texas, Wide Open for Business” website, electric rates, gas prices, the unemployment rate, and hourly wages are all lower than those of Connecticut. The Home of George W. Bush also isn’t exactly union-friendly.

New York State is also in the crosshairs of Gov. Perry—an apropos metaphor since in Texas, if you’re not packin’, you’re not welcome. Perry hits New York later in the week. But unlike Gov. Malloy, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is at least fighting back.

It’s curious that Malloy, never one to shrink from an interstate fight (see Christ Christie and even Cuomo), has said nothing about Perry’s “Your State Sucks, Come to Texas” tour. All we’ve heard from the governor’s office was a very dismissive labeling of Perry’s efforts as “lame publicity stunts.”

It’s not so much that Malloy isn’t engaging Perry, it’s the fact that Malloy is winging his way around the country again while all this trash talk is coming out of Texas. Admittedly, Malloy’s out-of-state appearances were likely scheduled far in advance of Perry’s incursion. But it doesn’t look good that this week he was in Chicago (Monday and Tuesday) and then Atlanta (Wednesday) for various national speaking engagements.

Malloy seems undeterred that just before he left for Chicago, a new report was released showing Connecticut’s economic trend was the worst in the nation in 2011 and 2012—the only state to have negative growth. No wonder Perry is coming.

It’s probably not productive for Malloy to get into a back and forth with Perry. Malloy could counter that Texas is a leader in areas such as illiteracy, poverty, offing wrongly-convicted prisoners, cousin marriages, gay bashing, religious intolerance, gun toting, ruining the environment, not to mention its lack of culture and relative crappy quality of life. But what would that accomplish?

Malloy could have at least responded by ticking off some of Connecticut’s attributes.

Of course, there’s always the chance Perry will forget the name of the third business he wants to steal.