Torrance Toyota

Toyota announced to employees today that the company will be moving its U.S. headquarters in Torrance to Plano, Texas, beginning in 2017. (Christina House / For The Times / April 28, 2014)

Republican gubernatorial candidates Monday seized on Toyota's decision to move 3,000 jobs from Torrance to Texas as evidence of California's poor business climate and to lash out at Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown.

"Today's announcement is just the latest consequence of‎ Gov. Brown's continued failure to support California job creators -- and middle-class workers are the ones whose livelihoods will be devastated as a result," Neel Kashkari said in a statement. "I'm running for governor to fight for those Californians, and that begins by unleashing the private sector to create good jobs."

Kashkari's main GOP rival in the June primary election, Assemblyman Tim Donnelly, also blamed the incumbent for Toyota's decision to move its headquarters to Plano, Texas.

"I'm fighting to protect the jobs -- like the [thousands of] Toyota jobs that Jerry Brown drove to Texas," Donnelly said.

‎Attempts to reach Brown's campaign spokesman were unsuccessful Monday afternoon. 

Like Republican candidates before them, Kashkari and Donnelly argue that the regulatory climate in California drives ‎businesses away. Texas Gov. Rick Perry routinely visits the state and brags of persuading businesses to move to Texas.

Toyota Motor Corp. officials have said their move is not prompted by cost cutting but rather by efficiency. The employees running the automaker's engineering, manufacturing, sales, marketing and other functions will now be located in one place.

In addition to the Torrance closing, employees from a Kentucky office are also being moved elsewhere.

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seema.mehta@latimes.com

Twitter: @LATSeema