Exclusive: Texas makes a play for GE

Not everything is bigger in Texas.

Promising a smaller tax bill and hinting at a Brink’s truck of economic incentives, the Lone Star State is attempting to make its way to the front of the pack of suitors for General Electric, should the iconic brand uproot from Connecticut.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott sent a one-page letter — obtained exclusively by Hearst Connecticut Media — to General Electric CEO Jeffrey Immelt Wednesday trying to court the Fairfield-based conglomerate to his state.

“I’m sure governors across America are knocking down your door since you openly declared your displeasure with Connecticut’s proposed $700 million increase in taxes on businesses over the next two years,” wrote Abbott, a Republican. “But how many of my colleagues just passed a total relief tax package of $3.8 billion like we did last week in Texas?”

A GE spokesman declined to comment beyond previous statements that the company made that it has formed an exploratory committee to look for alternate locations for its corporate campus.

Texas joins New York and Georgia as suitors for GE, which took the rare step last week of publicly criticizing a tax-laden budget deal reached by Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and fellow Democrats in the legislative majority.

Malloy’s spokesman Devon Puglia defended Connecticut’s tax climate Wednesday evening when reached by Hearst.

“Connecticut has one of the lowest – one of the lowest – effective corporate tax rates in America. It’s that simple,” Puglia said.

This is not the first time that the Lone Star State has attempted to go all George Strait — “All My Ex’s Live in Texas” — on Malloy’s administration. In 2013, Abbott’s predecessor and fellow Republican, Rick Perry, visited Hartford to try to poach businesses from Connecticut, including several renowned gun manufacturers that were disillusioned with the state’s legislative response to the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre.

Neil Vigdor