As the makers of Sriracha battle to stay open in California, legislators from Texas wooed the makers of the chili sauce to move to the Lone Star State.
Texas state Rep. Jason Villalba led the delegation meeting Monday with David Tran, head of Huy Fong Foods, which makes the famous red sauce with the trademark rooster logo, in Irwindale, Calif. The delegation toured the factory where Sriracha is produced.
"We're not here to offer any specific incentives, but just to let it be known there are incentives," said state Sen. Carlos Uresti after their visit, according to the Associated Press. He and Villalba cited the fact that Texas does not have a personal income tax as an example.
"I'm a huge fan of the product," Villalba told USA TODAY Network. "When I saw there was a possibility I would not be able to put Sriracha on my eggs, believe me, we got into action."
For months, Huy Fong has been battling the Irwindale City Council over complaints that fumes from its Sriracha plant are causing neighbors to get sick.
The Texas delegation's goal is to convince Huy Fong Foods that their state would make a good home — or most likely a second home — to the California-based business.
The delegation included state lawmakers, as well as representatives from the governor's tourism office, the attorney general's office and the state's Department of Agriculture. Gov. Rick Perry and GOP Sen. Ted Cruz also tweeted their support for the Sriracha factory's move.
South Texas, in particular, is ideal for a plant, where conditions are good to grow the chilis central to the hot sauce, Villalba said.
Delegates also planned to highlight Texas' success at attracting other large companies, including Toyota's move of its U.S. operations from California to Plano, Texas. Villalba says what happened with Toyota is a good example of what he calls the Texas two-step: first a company expands into the state and then it decides to move all operations there.
With Huy Fong Foods, "We recognize that a relocation of this magnitude is unlikely in one movement," Villalba said. "We're hopeful that expansion is a good first step."
Although his plan is to keep the Sriracha factory in Irwindale, Tran has said he is also open to having another site outside of Southern California, NPR reports.
The Irwindale City Council is scheduled to vote Wednesday on whether to declare the factory a public nuisance. If that happens, Huy Fong will have 90 days to contain the fumes.
Irwindale city attorney Fred Galante told NPR he believes the problem can be fixed without resorting to moving the plant.
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