NEW STUDY FINDS UP TO $8.5 BILLION GDP LOSS, 185,000 JOBS AT RISK IF TEXAS PASSES SO-CALLED “RELIGIOUS FREEDOM” AND “BATHROOM BILLS”

“KEEP TEXAS OPEN FOR BUSINESS” UNITES BUSINESS COMMUNITY,

CALLS ON TEXAS LEGISLATURE TO REJECT DISCRIMINATORY LEGISLATION 

AUSTIN, TEXAS—A new economic impact study released today said Texas could face an $8.5 billion decline in the state’s GDP and lose 185,000 jobs if proposed discriminatory bills are passed by the Texas Legislature.

The study, conducted by St. Edward’s University and commissioned by the Texas Association of Business, is part of a newly formed, broad-based, statewide coalition of businesses committed to “Keep Texas Open for Business.”

“Discriminatory legislation is bad for business. Our economic study points to the dire and far-reaching impact of discriminatory legislation on Texas businesses, our communities, families, jobs and the larger state economy,” said Chris Wallace, President of the Texas Association of Business (TAB). “We must Keep Texas Open for Business. We cannot slam the door on the Texas Miracle of openness, competitiveness, economic opportunity and innovation.”

TAB’s economic impact study found that passage of discriminatory legislation could:

The complete economic impact study is available here

“Texas needs to continue to strive for excellence in education, infrastructure, and health,” said State Representative Sarah Davis (R-Houston). “Those priorities – not divisive issues that won’t move our state forward – deserve our time and attention. We need to protect our tourism industry, attract investment, and provide a healthy environment for small businesses to thrive. I stand with the business community in their commitment to safeguarding the economic health of the Lone Star State.”

“As a state, we must remain committed to protecting Texas’ reputation of being economically vibrant and welcoming,” said Duff Stewart, CEO of GSD&M. “Discrimination against anyone will hinder Texas’ business climate and culture—positive traits that especially define Austin’s reputation and attract the diverse talent pool that is critical to our creative city. As a company born and raised here, we recognize the damage division will have on the success of business and denounce the pursuit of discrimination.”

Business and state leaders joined TAB’s Wallace and GSD&M’s Stewart on the steps of the State Capitol to highlight the profoundly negative impact discriminatory legislation could pose to Texas’ ability to attract, recruit and retain top talent, encourage new business relocations, expansions and investment and maintain our economic competitiveness.

“Texas must do all it can to ensure that it remains open to business for all,” said Caroline Joiner, TechNet’s Executive Director for Texas. “We are battling workforce shortages and increasing demands for science and technology talent in Texas and across the U.S. If Texas intends to compete, we need to reject discrimination and embrace state policy that values education, diversity, inclusion and innovation.”

Keep Texas Open for Business strongly opposes any legislation that amends the existing Texas Religious Freedom Restoration Act and opens the law up to broader interpretations and potentially costly litigation, all of which could have lasting economic impacts on our state.

“Together, the Texas Legislature and the business community have worked together to make a strong, more economically vibrant Texas. We need lawmakers to focus on critical issues like public education funding, transportation, child welfare, business and property tax reform. They should oppose divisive, unnecessary discriminatory legislation” said Wallace.

Texan businesses can learn more about how they can join the coalition and get engaged to Keep Texas Open for Business by visiting www.keeptxopenforbiz.org.

# # #