Anti-Business, Anti-LGBT Bills Could Cost Texas $8.5 Billion

December 6, 2016 • 1:23 pm

WASHINGTON – Legislation that targets lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people for discrimination in Texas could cost the Lone Star State $8.5 billion in lost revenue and nearly 200,000 jobs, according to a new economic impact survey released by the Texas Association of Business. The study comes as HB 2, the discriminatory North Carolina law that bans transgender people from using public restrooms and undermines the ability of local municipalities to set their own policies, is again making national headlines. The law has cost the state nearly a billion dollars in lost revenue, and outgoing Governor Pat McCrory lost his re-election bid after a campaign focused heavily on his support for the unpopular law.

Texas Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick is vowing to replicate HB 2-style legislation in Texas, despite concerns already being raised from a multitude of leaders across the state – including House Speaker Joe Straus and the head of Visit Dallas, the region’s convention and visitors’ bureau.

“It’s clearer than ever before that there is both an economic and a political cost to anti-business, anti-LGBT bills,” said Matt McTighe, Freedom for All Americans’ executive director. “North Carolina’s governor was just voted out of office because of his support for a discriminatory law that took an immediate and devastating toll on his state’s economy. It’s not surprising that business leaders and elected officials from across Texas are sounding some early alarm bells over Dan Patrick’s fixation on similar legislation. We hope the lieutenant governor listens to these diverse constituencies from across his state, who increasingly have no appetite for a legislative fight that will end up hurting Texas’ economy.”

According to the study, the travel and tourism industry would be among the first to feel the impact of anti-business, anti-LGBT legislation that Patrick is pushing. The travel and tourism industry employs more than 1.1 million Texans, brings in over $6 billion in local and state tax revenues, and drives more than $69 billion through the state’s economic engines.

The report also warns that anti-LGBT bills will make it exceedingly difficult for companies to attract and retain the best talent. In North Carolina, companies including PayPal, Deutsche Bank and CoStar all canceled planned expansions into the state because of HB 2 – costing jobs and cutting revenue.

The report is part of a new, business-led effort in Texas called Keep Texas Open for Business. The campaign will raise awareness about the economic impact of anti-business, anti-LGBT legislation. The full economic impact survey is available at www.keeptxopenforbiz.com.

“Business leaders know better than most the impact discriminatory, ill-advised policies can have on a community,” added McTighe. “They’re speaking up now because they are proud of the growth they’ve contributed to in Texas, and they want to ensure that growth can continue. Anti-business, anti-LGBT bills come at a cost, and at the end of the day hardworking Texans are those who will unfortunately feel the brunt of the backlash if the lieutenant governor keeps his blinders on.”

It’s not just convention and visitor bureau business leaders and the House Speaker warning against Patrick’s dogged pursuit of anti-business, anti-LGBT laws. Last month, more than 200 small business owners in Texas spoke out against anti-LGBT legislation. Even GOP Governor Greg Abbott has signaled he would prefer the legislature avoid taking up anti-LGBT legislation.

Freedom for All Americans is partnering with Texas Competes to raise business opposition to discriminatory policies that would harm Texas’ economy. More than 1,100 businesses big and small have signed the Texas Competes pledge so far, affirming their support for a Texas that remains economically competitive and vibrant.

Freedom for All Americans is the bipartisan campaign to secure full nondiscrimination protections for LGBT people nationwide. Our work brings together Republicans and Democrats, businesses large and small, people of faith, and allies from all walks of life to make the case for comprehensive nondiscrimination protections that ensure everyone is treated fairly and equally.

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