Texas Gov. Rick Perry took a swipe at Gov. Martin O'Malley and Maryland's business climate in radio ads aimed at luring companies and residents to the Lone Star state.
"When you grow tired of Maryland taxes squeezing every dime out of your business, think Texas," Perry said in the radio advertisement, set to air in the Baltimore-D.C. market this week and provided to the The Baltimore Sun by WTOP.
Perry, a Republican considered a possible presidential contender in 2016, has launched similar advertisements in Missouri, California, Chicago and New York since April. Earlier this year, Perry invited Beretta and other Maryland gun manufacturers to move to Texas after the General Assembly passed new gun laws here.
The new minute-long spot says O'Malley, a Democrat, "has made Maryland the Tax and Fee State, where businesses and families are paying some of the highest taxes in America."
O'Malley said Wednesday he hasn't seen the ads, adding "I know he does that tired old PR gimmick all around the country, though."
Perry announced earlier this year he would not run again for governor. This summer, top Perry supporters formed a new political action committee called Americans for Economic Freedom, reportedly designed "to help political and business leaders across the country emulate the successful framework for growth that has made states like Texas centers for entrepreneurship and economic development."
Perry's Austin press office did not return a phone call or email seeking comment on his Maryland ads, nor did one of the top supporters behind the PAC.
In the ad, Perry criticized tax and fee increases approved under the O'Malley administration, and said "He even passed a rain tax on some property owners - a tax even New York doesn’t have."
The ads, paid for by the Texas Economic Development Corporation, direct listeners to a website promoting Texas' business climate, which also contains similar advertiseme nts aired in Missouri and features the tag line: "Texas is calling...Your opportunity awaits."
O'Malley's spokeswoman released a statement praising Maryland and listing accolades the governor routinely mentions at the public appearances - along with a little jab for Perry.
"Maryland has had the No. 1 public schools in the nation for five years in a row," the statement read. "Since 2007, we've done more than any other state to hold down the cost of college tuition. We're No. 1 in median income. And the U.S. Chamber of Commerce has named us the No. 1 state in the nation for innovation and entrepreneurship for two years in a row.
"Instead of engaging in PR stunts, Governor Perry should come to Maryland to see firsthand the better choices that have led to these better results."
Baltimore Sun reporter Michael Dresser contributed to this report.