DES MOINES (AP) — Gov. Terry Branstad said Monday that he's heading to California in an effort to get West Coast businesses to consider setting up shop in Iowa.
Calling California a “happy hunting ground,” Branstad said he will travel there this week, but the Republican declined to name the businesses he'll be courting.
“What we do, we call on companies that already have an investment here, and we call companies that are prospects,” Branstad said, arguing that Iowa's efforts to reduce commercial taxes should make it attractive. “Their plan is if it doesn't move, tax it.”
California Gov. Jerry Brown, a Democrat, was critical of a recent effort by Republican Gov. Rick Perry of Texas to lure California companies, dismissing it as a political stunt. Riley Robbins, spokesman for Brown's Office of Business and Economic Development, said studies show that such recruiting trips have no real impact on the state's economy.
“They're expecting up to 10 inches of snow in Iowa this week,” Robbins said. “If I was the governor, I'd plan a trip to California, too.”
Branstad said he wasn't worried that Brown would try a similar recruiting effort in Iowa.
“He's welcome to come any time he wants. Last time I saw him in Iowa, he came here in December to the Farm Bureau convention without a coat. Most people said, this guy, he doesn't have a clue,” Branstad said, referring to Brown's 1992 bid for president, his third attempt at the office.
Branstad is scheduled to travel to California today and return Wednesday. A spokeswoman for the Iowa Economic Development Authority said that Branstad will be accompanied by two staffers and that travel for all three will cost an estimated $2,500.
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