Tag Archives: California

Trump declares ‘war’ on California? Hmmm …

California Democrats believe Donald John Trump has declared war on the nation’s most populous state.

They cite the president’s recent actions regarding (a) recreational marijuana use, (b) offshore oil drilling and (c) increased enforcement of immigration laws.

Let’s ponder that for a moment.

I cannot define any president’s motives. People who areĀ  “done wrong” by presidents often accuse them of political retribution.

It was said during the late 1960s that Democratic President Lyndon Johnson hated the Texas Panhandle so much because several counties voted for Republican Barry Goldwater in the 1964 presidential election that he took it out on the region by closing the Amarillo Air Force Base. Many longtime Panhandle residents still hold a grudge against LBJ for that decision.

Now we have the current president — a Republican — imposing policies deemed detrimental to the nation’s most staunchly Democratic state. Democrats say they are certain that Trump is angry enough to punish the state for purely partisan reasons.

I, um, don’t know about that.

Trump vs. California?

The president’s offshore drilling proposals also involve the Gulf Coast, which comprises states that all voted for Trump in 2016. Immigration enforcement? Texas, too, is affected by whatever stricter policies come from the Trump administration.

I suppose one might make a case that California’s recent legalizing of recreational pot use might be construed as some sort of payback. Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the federal government is rescinding Obama administration rules softening punishment for those caught using marijuana, which the feds still consider a “controlled substance.”

And while we are talking about President Obama, I will mention that Barack Obama could have ordered one of the decommissioned space shuttles to be displayed in a museum in Texas. Hey, the state is home to the Johnson Space Center in Houston. Neil Armstrong’s first words in July 1969 from the moon’s surface were, “Houston, Tranquility Base here. The Eagle has landed.”

Texas was shunned. Why? Well, some have said President Obama had no love for Texas, given that the state voted twice for his Republican opponents.

I am not a big fan of this kind of political conspiracy theory.

Still, California Democrats do make a fascinating point. They say Donald Trump is the first president since Dwight Eisenhower to fail to visit California during the first year of his presidency.

Hey, the state qualifies as the world’s fifth-largest economy.

What gives, Mr. President?

Abbott turns focus on public education

Texas Gov.-elect Greg Abbott just cannot stand the fact that California — and not Texas — is home to five of the nation’s top 10 public universities.

That’s what he said today at his first news conference since being elected governor.

Thus, he vowed to make public education the top priority of his administration.

To which I say, “Very good, Gov. Abbott.”


Now comes the obvious question: How is it that California’s public universities rate so much better than Texas’s public institutions of higher learning?

Here’s a guess: Because our fellow countrymen way out west invest in their public institutions, rather than gut them.

The past two legislative sessions have seen dramatic cuts in public education at many levels. The state’s been short of money, so it takes aim at one of the bedrocks of its future: public education.

At no level at all does that make sense. Yes, conservatives — led by the TEA party movement among Republicans — keep saying you can’t “buy a good education.” Well, actually you can.

You can spend more to hire quality faculty and administrative staff; you can invest on physical infrastructure at our major university systems. Both of those things can — and do — attract top-quality students, who then boost academic performance measurements and, therefore, create a public educational system that becomes the envy of other states.

California has done that, even as it, too, has struggled to recover from the economic collapse of late 2008.

Texas public officials are fond of ridiculing California. Yes, we do a lot of things right in Texas. They also do some things correctly in California.

Developing a first-rate public university system is a strategy worth emulating.




Texas pulls in a big 'fish'

Score one for Texas.

Toyota announced that it is moving its U.S. headquarters from California to a site in Plano, just north of Dallas. The move means an estimated 3,000 job are coming to the Metroplex.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry is touting the state’s business-friendly environment as a reason for the move. Even though I’ve been critical of the governor’s job-poaching forays into other states, I do commend him — and the state — for creating circumstances that attract high-dollar companies, such as Toyota, to set up shop in the Lone Star State.


Texas has no state income tax. It doesn’t place burdensome regulations on businesses. The cost of living in Texas is significantly lower than many other states, such as California. You can get much better housing for the money here than you can in California and that has to be a huge selling point for prospective employers.

However, as the Texas Tribune reports, wages in Texas are lower than they are in other states. We are a “right-to-work” state where unions aren’t particularly strong.

I hasten to note that many of these aspects about doing business in Texas are well-known to Fortune 500 companies throughout the world. Thus, Gov. Perry did not need to venture to California or other so-called “high tax” states to poach jobs.

Still, the news about Toyota is good for Texas and it likely will signal a huge wake-up call to California and other states to do a better job of keeping their own businesses.

Perry continues his job-poaching mission

Gov. Rick Perry’s effort to stimulate the Texas economy at the expense of some of the other 50 states in the Union still has me scratching my head.

His latest target is Maryland — which, not coincidentally, is governed by a Democrat, Martin O’Malley. Perry has taken out ads on broadcast media there touting Texas as a place to relocate businesses while also criticizing Maryland as a state that is unfriendly to business.

The Pride of Paint Creek has visited other states, such as California and New York — which also are governed by Democrats — in the hope of luring companies away from those states and toward Texas. He’s used the same tactics in those states as well, telling Californians and New Yorkers, in effect, that they live and work in states that foster horrible business environments.

He had sought to make a foray recently into Missouri, where Gov. Jay Nixon runs things. Did I mention that Nixon also is a Democrat? Gov. Nixon was a bit more forceful in telling Perry to stay away, lambasting the Texas governor for trying to pilfer jobs from the Show Me State. Nixon told Perry that his strategy isn’t very neighborly and he takes great offense at Perry’s effort to bolster his state’s fortunes at others’ expense.


I’ve long thought that Perry was taking a bit of public-relations gamble with this strategy. I do salute the governor for having Texas’s interests at heart, which is one reason why he’s been so electable here. I cannot fault him for wanting to tout the Texas economy.

I remain troubled, though, by his continued politicization of this economic development strategy. Maybe all those other states need to change their regulatory structure, as Perry suggests. Perhaps they can reduce their tax rates or restructure their incentives to retain business and commerce. Isn’t that their call?

And isn’t enough for the Texas governor merely to say that our state is a great place to do business — citing all those positives of which we all should be proud — without resorting to the denigration of those other places?

I find it a bit curious as well that Perry is so fond of touting states’ individualism, referring often to the Constitution’s 10th Amendment when lambasting what he calls a federal government overreach into state matters. Well, doesn’t that individualism also apply to the way states are governed within their own borders?

Therefore, Rick Perry’s job-poaching strategy is an exercise in hypocrisy.