AUSTIN (KXAN) - California lost a company called Corvalent to Cedar Park five years ago. The computer-maker was searching for a new place to build its heavy-duty devices for industrial use.
"Like military, tanks, chips, aircraft," explained Ed Trevis, the company’s president and CEO.
Trevis said Texas officials traveled to Silicon Valley with quite the pitch back then.
"The cost of living, the cost of doing business was obviously a clear decision compared to all the other states we looked at,” he said.
Visiting Corvalent last year, Gov. Rick Perry no doubt saw it as another success story – the exact reason other states are now finding him on their turf spending thousands of dollars in ad buys on their television and radio stations.
"Why are more jobs and business more to Texas than any other state?” Perry asked in a recent ad airing in New York.
The ads are paid for by a group called TexasOne. Perry launched this public-private partnership in 2003 to bolster the economy back home. Lately, he has been focused on attracting businesses in those states to set up shop in Texas.
“Through direct marketing, recruitment missions and signature events, our states leaders and TexasOne members interact directly with corporate decision makers and major site selectors to bring businesses and jobs to Texas,” said the non-profit’s executive director, Romina Black.
While TexasOne does not use money from the state, it is funded by a mixture of corporations, chambers of commerce and communities. Among the latter are local governments and sales-tax-funded local economic development councils.
Those include the following Central Texas entities: the Buda Economic Development Corporation ($1,000 annual contribution); the Pflugerville Community Development Corporation ($25,000 annual contribution); the Greater San Marcos Partnership ($25,000 annual contribution); and Corvalent’s home – the City of Cedar Park ($5,000 annual contribution).
The business and job case is one Perry has made before on a national scale when he ran for president in the last election. He recently announced he would not run again for governor, but he did not rule out the nation’s top spot. Some insiders say his TexasOne tour is a clear precursor to another campaign.
“I would imagine the primary motivation of this governor is not to attract jobs to Texas but to ingratiate him to Republican primary voters in a future presidential race,” said Harold Cook, a Democratic strategist in Austin.
While Perry brags on the Texas economy, some critics say too many of the jobs in Texas are low-wage jobs. And others say too many of the new jobs created are filled by people moving to Texas, not those already living there.
Pressing forward, Perry’s latest target has been Maryland, a state whose Democratic Gov. Martin O’Malley is also weighing a White House bid. Perry’s ad there states: "When you get tired of Maryland taxes squeezing every dime out of your business, think Texas."
O’Malley recently fired back on CNN’s Crossfire, as he sat across the table from the man “invading” his state.
"We have great companies,” O’Malley said. “Lockheed Martin, Under Armour, Marriott and others in Maryland. And they're great companies.”
Trevis said that a positive presidential image might just be the fortunate side effect of doing a good job, and local partners like Cedar Park are doing the right thing investing in Texas' economic future.
"(Perry’s) got something to show,” he said. “It's not just a promise. It's history."
Federal, state and local authorities on Wednesday arrested 15 people and seized 70 firearms in raid on a methamphetamine operation based in Burnet County.
TxTAG’s customer call center lines are jammed as toll road violators scramble to pay up and avoid staying on a published scofflaw list.
The U.S. Grand Prix race in Austin next year will be held Nov. 2 and F1 weekend will not coincide with a UT Longhorns home football game.
One woman died early Wednesday after several shots were fired at a North Austin mechanic shop.
UPDATE // The two teenage girls missing since Saturday night were found safe at 2:30 a.m. Wednesday, Leander police said.
FEMA teams will be back in Southeast Austin to assess damage to public property like roads, bridges, and parks.