ROXANA HEGEMAN, Associated Press
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Texas Gov. Rick Perry said Wednesday that Kansas has a competitive business climate and that his Republican colleague Gov. Sam Brownback is his rival for economic development and investment.
Brownback is locked in a close race with Democratic challenger Paul Davis amid voter backlash over cuts to classroom spending and massive tax cuts that have created revenue shortfalls.
Perry told the fewer than 100 supporters who attended a Brownback campaign rally at GOP headquarters in Wichita that Kansas is “headed in the right direction” on an upward trajectory.
The Kansas governor “understands you cannot tax and spend yourself into prosperity,” Perry said.
Brownback touted his success.
“Now we have a business climate in Kansas better than Texas,” he said in a brief statement.
About 150 supporters of Davis showed up to protest outside the private donor reception Brownback was hosting with Perry later that evening.
Kansas Democratic Party chairwoman Joan Wagnon said in a statement that Brownback has modeled his administration after the recently indicted Texas governor, saying Perry has made deep cuts to public schools and overseen a troubling rise in childhood poverty.
Chris Pumpelly, spokesman for the Davis campaign, agreed.
“Sam Brownback keeps bringing other states’ governors to Kansas, but there’s little these other education-cutting governors can do to fix the damage Brownback’s experiment has done to Kansas,” Pumpelly said in an emailed statement. “Both Gov. Brownback and Gov. Perry have made massive cuts to the schools in their states, causing class sizes to grow, teacher layoffs and increased fees on parents. And while other states have restored funding for schools, Sam Brownback and Rick Perry have not, consistently failing to make schools a priority.”