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Texas vs. California and the Toyota headquarters sweepstakes

Toyota's just-announced decision to move its U. S. headquarters from suburban Los Angeles (Torrance) to suburban Dallas (Plano) has triggered a new round of hand-wringing and chest-pumping over jobs in California and Texas.

Those who see regulation-choked California being poached again by business-friendly Texas view the Toyota move--with its 3,000 Southern California jobs to be lost--as another ominous sign for the Golden State. Texas Gov. Rick Perry is already taking a victory lap, crowing about how his state's low taxes and hands-off policies made the difference in luring Toyota.

Except that none of it is true, says a debunker in the Los Angeles Times. Texas-California competition, while a convenient story line, didn't play a role, Toyota executives say.

Toyota says it was simply a matter of picking one location to consolidate disperate U. S. operations, and that Plano was chosen over Atlanta, Charlotte and Denver after factoring in such things as climate, the availability of direct flights to Japan and, not least of all, proximity to the South, where it makes most of its U. S. vehicles.

"It may seem like a juicy story to have this confrontation between California and Texas, but that was not the case," Jim Lentz, Toyota's North American chief executive, tells the LAT. "It doesn't make sense to have oversight of manufacturing 2,000 miles away from where the cars were made. Geography is the reason not to have our headquarters in California."

Not that it's likely to affect Rick Perry's swagger.

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