WASHINGTON - Texas governor Rick Perry spent Wednesday afternoon hosting a lunch for local leaders and business owners in an attempt to lure their business to the Lone Star State.
Dining at Morton's Steak House in the Bethesda Hyatt, approximately 15 individuals met with the governor who is focusing on what he calls Maryland's high taxes to make a case for his state.
"We pray for rain in Texas. They tax it in Maryland," Perry said to a league of reporters waiting outside the restaurant.
Perry is on a national tour to recruit businesses and encourage "competition between states," he says.
An ad campaign is running alongside the tour organized by TexasOne, an economic development group funded by private donations. In the local ads, Perry criticizes Gov. Martin O'Malley for increased fees and taxes since his arrival in office.
The ads have run on WTOP radio.
O'Malley wrote an opinion column in The Washington Post in response to Perry's comments, pointing to Maryland's higher median income and wages as compared with Texas.
"While Perry likes to promote the job creation in Texas during his time in office, he leaves out a critical point: The jobs "miracle" he touts is driven by low- paying, non-sustainable jobs," O'Malley writes.
"If his point is he doesn't like any jobs if they are low paying, I don't think everybody starts into their jobs as a CEO. Entry level jobs are important," Perry said in response.
Annapolis business owner Michael Binko takes issue with Perry's argument that businesses are better off in Texas.
"If you want to grow business and attract the best talent in your management team and the best workforce, it can't be something where you're just looking for the tax break and the easy write-off," Binko says.
Binko is with StartUp Maryland, a group of entrepreneurs encouraging local business. The group happened to be in Bethesda and came to the location of Perry's meetings to protest what they call his "Maryland-bashing tour."
Some of the individuals who met with Perry included representatives with the Maryland Republican Party, businessman and republican candidate for governor Charles Loller and Harford County executive David Craig.
Perry is also meeting with gun manufacturer, Beretta USA, representatives in Accokeek, Md.
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