Governor Lee cheers companies’ move to Tennessee
Hours after the announcement that two more California-based businesses are relocating their headquarters to Middle Tennessee, Gov. Bill Lee took to Twitter touting the news. Beaming as he looked into the camera, Lee posted a video relishing that Mitsubishi Motors North America and online bookkeeping service Pilot.com would be leaving the West Coast to bring their corporate offices to the Volunteer State. “It is a beautiful day in Tennessee, but I gotta tell ya, as governor, today, I’m California dreaming,” Lee said as he laughed while standing outside the state Capitol building. Lee’s remarks — and the announcements of new business — came days after California Gov. Gavin Newsom told business leaders in San Francisco on Friday that he was tired of executives complaining about other states being cheaper destinations to operate, specifically Tennessee. “Eat your heart out Texas, Tennessee,” the San Francisco Business Times reported Newsom telling a crowd, referencing states in the top three of Chief Executive Magazine’s list of places to do business.
California came in last place. “I get it,” Newsom said. “We’re not going to be the cheapest place to do business.” Newsom said he would rather focus on the positive aspects of doing business in California, and was frustrated with media reports on rising homelessness due to the cost of living, including “poop maps” of defecation in San Francisco streets. “For all the bitchin’ and complaining, I think businesses are doing pretty damn well,” Newsom said, according to the San Francisco Business Times. In an interview later that day with the San Francisco Chronicle, Newsom cited the quality- of-life benefits that he said came along with a more expensive business environment.
“We’re not going to get rid of clean air, clean water; we’re not going to abandon our poor people,” he said. “We’re not that state.”
In 6 months, 4 California businesses announce move to Tennessee
In the last six months, two other California- based companies have announced their relocation to Tennessee, including Harrow Health Inc. coming to Nashville and ICEE to La Vergne. Newsom’s office didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
In his video, which never directly mentions Newsom, Lee touts the business climate in Tennessee, where the governor implemented a 90-day regulatory freeze upon taking office in January.
The corporate tax rate in Tennessee 6.5%, compared to California’s rate of 8.84%. The federal rate is 21%. Just back from an economic development trip to Asia last week, Lee on Wednesday will travel to Chicago to attempt to recruit more business to the state.
Lee took the opportunity on Twitter to make an appeal to other business owners around the country.
“So whatever your situation, if your government and your state is making it difficult for your bottom line to be as profitable as you want it to be, then let me tell you, Tennessee is open for business, and we’d love to have you,” Lee said.
Source: Knoxville News Sentinel, by Natalie Allison
The East Tennessee Economic Development Agency markets and recruits business for the 15 counties in the greater Knoxville-Oak Ridge region of East Tennessee. Visit www.eteda.org
Published June 28, 2019