Texas Gov. Rick Perry took to the Albany airwaves on Tuesday to challenge New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, calling on him to agree to a public debate of their economic policies.
His office on Monday promoted the trip to New York political reporters, and Perry on Tuesday appeared on a radio show popular with Albany insiders to issue his challenge to Cuomo.
“I’d love to sit down with the governor and have a public conversation, a debate, whatever format each of us would like to work in,” Perry told host Fred Dicker on WGDJ-AM. “I think it would be a thoughtful, constructive conversation for the country to watch, and for the citizens of both of our states to watch and participate in, as well.”
Cuomo’s office did not immediately respond to Perry’s debate challenge. But the Democratic Governors Association was quick to weigh in, recalling a Perry debate flub in 2012, when he infamously said “Oops” after he couldn’t recall a third federal agency he wanted to eliminate.
“A little free advice for Rick Perry: the fewer debates with anyone, the better,” DGA spokesman Danny Kanner said in a statement. “Oops!”
Perry said he’s in New York because it is a “target-rich environment.” He has traveled to other states in recent months for similar reasons, hoping to lure businesses to Texas.
“I go fish where the fish are,” Perry said. “That was one of the things my grandfather taught me. You don’t put your bait where you’re not going to catch any fish.”
Perry, who is not seeking re-election this year, reiterated Thursday that he would make a decision on the 2016 presidential race next year. Cuomo is often mentioned as a potential Democratic candidate in 2016, but has repeatedly said his focus remains in New York.
Perry was complimentary of Cuomo’s successful push for Start-Up NY, a new program in which businesses who locate in specified zones — mostly near colleges — could qualify for tax-free status for up to 10 years. He also offered a backhanded compliment about the recent changes made to the state’s tax code, including a reduction in the corporate income tax in this year’s state budget.
“I will say to New York’s credit, they’ve moved in the right direction,” Perry said. “According to the Tax Foundation, they were the No. 50 — last place — when it came to total tax burden. Now they’ve put some changes into place that moved them up to 48. That’s kind of small ball, but there was only one direction you could go in New York from the tax side.”
(AP file photo)