Oh, Rick Perry. How we've missed you. The hair. The boots. Seems like there was a third thing, but we forget.
The Texas governor's flameout in the 2012 Republican nominating process came well before Maryland's GOP primary — I mean, how early do we have to hold it next time? — but fortunately, that has not left us completely bereft of his charm and intellect. This week, Maryland joins a handful of other states that Mr. Perry has chosen to grace with the good news that, should we grow tired of the Land of Pleasant Living, we would be more than welcome in his Land of Peasant Living.
You see, his pitch in a radio ad set to start airing the in the Washington area this week conveys the message that we should throw off the shackles of taxes, fees and regulations and move to what used to be the largest of these United States. "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," Mr. Perry says in the ad, according to WTOP radio.
It's a claim he made in one form or another in just about every campaign appearance in 2012, and the good folks at the Washington Post's fact checker gave it a mere two Pinocchios — not bad by the standards of the Republican primary campaign. More recently, Mr. Perry took out an ad in the Austin American-Statesman welcoming President Barack Obama to town for a visit in May and offering some suggestions for how the rest of the nation might follow Texas' example. Then, he claimed that Texas accounted for 33 percent of net new jobs nationwide during the previous decade, which Poltifact judged to be flat-out true.
So if you're thinking of moving to Texas — and heck, the high in Houston is only 93 today, four degrees cooler than here in Charm City — there might be a job waiting for you.
There is, however, one tiny caveat that Mr. Perry failed to mention in his ad that we feel duty-bound to bring up. We don't want to alarm those secessionists out in Western Maryland who may find themselves drawn to a state whose governor thinks along the same lines, but you might have to take a bit of a pay cut in Texas. Like about 29 percent.
The Perry economic miracle, it seems, has been swell if you fancy working for low wages or if you're not so keen on things like health benefits. (Texas: No. 1 in the rate of the uninsured! Obamacare? No, thank you!) If, however, you're interested in actually making enough money to support your family, or avoiding bankruptcy if you get sick, you might consider looking a little closer to home.
Indeed, everything is bigger in Texas, unless you mean the size of the state itself (No. 2, until Alaska decides to split in half to make it No. 3). Or population. Or, it turns out, the size of its' residents' pocketbooks. In that case, Maryland is No. 1 and has been for some time.
Ah, you might ask, what good is having the nation's highest median household income if you're saddled with all those pesky taxes? Quite a lot, actually. According to the Tax Foundation — not what anyone would mistake for a liberal organization — Maryland's state and local tax burden is 12th highest in the nation, and Texas' is 45th. So, factoring in Maryland's rate of 10.2 percent versus Texas' 7.9 percent, a typical family could stay here and pull down $63,000 after state and local taxes, or move to Texas and make a bit over $45,000. The cost of living is higher here, according to Census Bureau estimates, but the comparison still works out in our favor.
And what do you get for the money? The best public schools in the nation, for starters. And that's not just the product of some formula Education Week came up with, it's also validated by scores on Advanced Placement tests and the National Assessment of Educational Progress. It's a little cheaper to go to college here, too, according to the College Board, and the trends don't look good for Mr. Perry. In-state tuition has gone up 18 percent there in the last five years. Here? Two percent. You're almost twice as likely to run into someone with a post-graduate degree in Maryland as you are in Texas.
We will admit, though, that this whole exercise has given us a bit of governor-envy. Not of Mr. Perry, mind you, but of California Gov. Jerry Brown, whose state was an earlier target of the Texas come-on. The once-brash Gov. Martin O'Malley called the ad a "tired old PR gimmick" and issued a statement suggesting that "Governor Perry should come to Maryland to see firsthand the better choices that have led to these better results." Mr. Brown, responding to reporters' questions about a similar Perry ad buy in the Golden State, called it "barely a fart." Now, we ask you, which of these governors should be running for president?