Selling Texas as Oil Boom States Vie for Business

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Governor RIck Perry: 'Check out Texas'

In a radio ad, Texas Governor Rick Perry disses California as a place where it’s “next to impossible” to build a business.

“Come check out Texas,” Perry implores his listeners.

Some states are taking the governor up on his offer: They’re coming to Texas, but they’re not looking to bring business to the state. Rather, they want to take Texas business back home with them.

One state doing this North Dakota which, like Texas, is enjoying a booming economy thanks to horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing that are freeing up huge quantities of crude oil.

North Dakota officials say they need investment funds because local investors are tapped out.

Dave Fehling / StateImpact

North Dakota officials and developers tried to persuade investors at an "Opportunities in North Dakota and the Bakken" presentation held in Houston

“They’re pretty much cashed out, if you will. We need other investors (to) look at opportunities so we can continue to grow,” said Jerry Chavez, president of the Minot Area Development Corporation. Chavez was one of several North Dakotans who spoke to a room-full of potential investors who gathered at a Sheraton Hotel in Houston.

But North Dakota and Texas seem to differ greatly in their approaches to luring business: Texas spends far more on tax breaks and other incentives than North Dakota.

“We’re not necessarily in the business of trying to take something away from someplace else. We’re interested in supporting businesses that have a good fit because then they’ll be in North Dakota for a longer period of time,” said Paul Lucy, North Dakota’s Director of Economic Development.

Lucy told StateImpact that his state isn’t willing to go much beyond what he said were favorable business tax rates.

“Beyond that we’re not going to get into a negotiation battle over dollars and cents; it is what it is, take it or leave it,” said Lucy.

Besides wanting investors to help fund everything in the state from new power plants to housing developments, the state also needs more families. Hear why that is by listening to our radio story.

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