Florida’s Republican governor, Rick Scott, has extended “one-way ticket” invitations to Bay State businessmen, and they’ve ruffled some feathers.
In the wake of Massachusetts approving $500 million in higher taxes on gasoline and computer services, Scott mailed letters to 100 of the state’s business leaders, saying that “[Florida] now ranks second in the nation as a place to do business, and we are nipping at the heels of Texas every day, as we approach the prized #1 spot.” Scott also slams Massachusetts’ June increase in the unemployment rate, which he writes is now “the highest since November 2011.”
The response, delivered by Democratic governor Deval Patrick’s economic development secretary, Gegory Bialecki, was predictably indignant. Bialecki wrote that he was “not surprised that other states wish they had the successful and growing innovation businesses that we have here in Massachusetts.” Under Patrick, “[Massachusetts has] committed to long-term investments in education, innovation, and infrastructure, all good news for companies doing business here.”
If that’s the case, why isn’t Patrick out recruiting businesses to his state? Perhaps it’s because his state was ranked 47th in terms of business friendliness in Chief Executive’s annual poll of CEO opinions (meanwhile, Florida ranked second for the second year in a row). In a comparison of the two states’ business climate conducted by the conservative American Legislative Exchange Council, posted on Scott’s website, the they don’t even come close.
This isn’t the first time Scott has waged a letter campaign in a state with a Democratic governor. He’s also canvassed business leaders in seven other states, including Colorado, Maryland, and Minnesota among others. The letters encourage business owners to schedule a meeting with his office so that he can tell them more about the state’s economic recovery. Scott’s strategy has been similar to the approach of Texas governor Rick Perry’s, who has also gone after businesses in liberal-leaning states like California, Connecticut, and New York. The two have hit several of the same states.