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Iowa Joins Texas In Effort To Court California Companies

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DES MOINES, Iowa (CBS/AP) — Gov. Terry Branstad wants California businesses to consider setting up shop in Iowa.

Calling California a “happy hunting ground,” Branstad said Monday he’ll travel to the West Coast this week to try to convince companies to relocate. Branstad, a 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.”

Democratic California Gov. Jerry Brown was critical of a recent advertising campaign and website by Republican Texas Gov. Rick Perry to lure California companies. Riley Robbins, spokesman for Brown’s office of business and economic development, said studies show that these recruiting trips have no real impact on the state’s economy.

The radio spots airing in Sacramento, Los Angeles, San Francisco and elsewhere across the state feature Texas Gov. Rick Perry saying how hard it is for businesses to operate in California and urging them to relocate to Texas.

Brown dismissed them, saying “it’s not a serious story guys. It’s not a burp. It’s barely a fart.”

“They’re expecting up to ten inches of snow in Iowa this week. If I was the governor, I’d plan a trip to California too,” Robbins said.

Branstad said he wasn’t worried 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 set to travel to California on Tuesday and return Wednesday. A spokeswoman for the Iowa Economic Development Authority said Branstad will be accompanied by two staffers and travel for all three will cost an estimated $2,500.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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