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Perry Announces Recruiting Trip to Illinois

Perry has also said he is considering running for president again in 2016

By Sophia Tareen
|  Thursday, Apr 18, 2013  |  Updated 3:56 PM CDT
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Perry Called a "Big Talker"

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Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn said the Land of Lincoln doesn't need any advice from Texas Gov. Rick Perry.

The Chicago Democrat again defended Illinois' business climate on Wednesday as the former Republican presidential candidate announced that he's coming to Chicago this month to lure jobs to Texas and spurn competition between the states.

Quinn -- who's pushed back on poaching attempts from Wisconsin, Indiana and New Jersey as the state grapples with monstrous financial problems-- instead played up water technologies in Illinois. He cited a recent trade mission to Mexico to promote Illinois companies and the groundbreaking earlier this week of Danish water pump company Grundfos' North American headquarters in suburban Chicago.

"We know how to do it in Illinois. We don't need any advice from Gov. Perry," Quinn told reporters at the State Capitol. "His state, frankly, is water challenged, and any company thinking of going to Texas better check on their water."

Perry announced Wednesday that he's coming to Illinois from April 23-24, after purchasing $42,000 in radio advertising in the Chicago area. The ad is paid for by Texas One, a public-private marketing firm using private money.

The idea is to "spur competition between states and recruit jobs and employees to Texas," he said.

Perry, who has said he is considering running for president again in 2016, frequently travels to blue states with big Republican donors, including California, to recruit businesses to Texas. In Chicago, he will speak at the 2013 BIO International Convention.

While other governors, particularly on Illinois' borders, have tried to lure businesses from the state, the businesses themselves also have been public about their discontent with Illinois' financial problems. The head of heavy equipment maker Caterpillar Inc. blasted state officials last year in a newspaper editorial over the issue. That was after the company bypassed Illinois as a location for a new plant and 1,400 jobs.

Illinois has the worst pension problem in the country -- which has led to lowered credit ratings -- and billions in unpaid bills, something all the companies have noted.

In turn, Quinn and lawmakers have made extraordinary efforts to keep companies in the state. In 2011, he signed $100 million in tax breaks and incentives for Sears Holding Corp and CME Group Inc., which operates the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. Quinn has said the move saved thousands of jobs.

Quinn's office on Wednesday dismissed the Perry trip as a publicity stunt.

The governors have met before. They were roommates during a 2009 tour of Afghanistan and Iraq when several governors went to visit troops.

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