WASHINGTON – Maryland is the latest target of Texas Gov. Rick Perry in a new radio spot that criticizes his counterpart Gov. Martin O’Malley and the state’s high taxes.
Perry criticizes Maryland for high taxes on businesses and families, comparing it to his state’s low taxes, “fair” legal system and limited government, in a commercial from Texas Wide Open for Business, part of the Texas Economic Development Division within the Office of the Governor.
“When you grow tired of Maryland taxes squeezing every dime out of your business, think Texas, where we’ve created more jobs than all the other states combined,” Perry says in the advertisement.
In the ad, which WTOP first reported about on Wednesday, Perry says that businesses should seek to call the Lone Star State, not the Old Line State, home.
O’Malley is given a special mention, accused of making Maryland a “tax and fee state” and implementing a “rain tax” on some property owners, “a tax even New York doesn’t have,” Perry says.
In a statement, O’Malley called the ad a public relations stunt and praised Maryland’s high-ranking public schools, support for innovation and entrepreneurship and low cost of college tuition.
“Gov. Perry should come to Maryland to see firsthand the better choices that have led to these better results,” O’Malley said in the statement.
Perry, who ran a failed campaign for president in 2012, has directed ads towards five other states in recent months, including Illinois, Missouri and New York.
Capital News Service made several calls to Perry’s Austin office and to the offices of Texas Wide Open for Business, but was not able to reach anyone for comment.
As the 2014 primary election season looms, the business-centric ads give Perry a chance to campaign on pocketbook issues, where Republicans tend to do well, instead of social issues like same-sex marriage and abortion, said Benjamin Bates, associate professor of communication studies at Ohio University.
“It’s a pretty thick field right now, and Rick Perry is a Tea Party darling … the Tea Party right listen to people like Rick Perry,” Bates said.
Perry may also be laying the groundwork for another run at president in 2016, Bates said.
The Texas governor faltered badly in his run for the 2012 Republican nomination, famously forgetting the name of one of the three cabinet-level agencies he would abolish if elected. Perry had campaigned on eliminating the departments of Education, Commerce and Energy, but could not remember the last one in a candidate debate.
“Perry is starting the conversation, that he maybe wants to be compared with other potential candidates,” Bates said.
Those potential candidates include O’Malley, who is widely expected to run for the Democratic nomination for president in 2016.