States should face economic competition from each other because it pushes them to make sure their business environments are as strong as possible, Gov. Rick Perry said Wednesday as he met with business owners in New York City and encouraged them to consider moving to his state.
"The state of New York will not be stronger unless people come and push them," Perry, a Republican, said.
Perry was pushing the premise that the business environment was better in Texas, an idea he has promoted in New York before as well as in other states like California.
The day before, he also had challenged Gov. Andrew Cuomo to a debate on economic policies, to which Cuomo said Wednesday: "I don't think so."
Perry declined to say what companies he met with Wednesday at a Manhattan restaurant and whether any were moving to his state. When asked, his office provided a list of 27 New York companies that had expanded, built new facilities or relocated into Texas since 2005.
He said other states, like Louisiana and Florida, try to lure Texas businesses, which keeps him on his toes.
"There's more to this than just me pitching Texas and it's for this country to have a conversation about the competition between the states," he said.
Perry was also countering Cuomo's latest initiative to lure businesses from out of state.
Cuomo's $100 million Start-Up NY initiative, which allows businesses that locate near college campuses to operate tax-free for 10 years, is being touted in TV commercials playing in Texas.
Texas has also bought promotional airtime in New York in recent years.
During a radio interview with New York Post columnist Fred Dicker on Tuesday, Perry said he'd like to debate Cuomo, a Democrat, over economic policies.
"I'd be more than happy to sit down and have a thoughtful conversation, a debate with Gov. Cuomo over the issues that face us as a state and talk about the economic policies and compare New York to Texas," Perry said.
Asked Wednesday about whether he would agree to a debate, Cuomo said, "I don't think so. I think I'm going to let the numbers speak for the state of New York."
He added: "I understand that other states are jealous about what we're doing but that's what it is, what can I tell you?"
With potential presidential runs in 2016 for both Perry and Cuomo, the Republican told Dicker he'd wait until next year to make a decision.
A spokesman for the Democratic Governors Association said in an email: "a little free advice for Rick Perry: the fewer debates with anyone, the better. Oops." It included a link to a video of Perry during the Republican Presidential Debate in 2011 when he forgot the name of the third agency he would eliminate if he were to become president.