Open Letter Notes Threats to Economy, Travel, Tourism, Workforce from Unnecessary, Discriminatory Legislation
AUSTIN, TEXAS–In an open letter to Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, House Speaker Joe Straus and state lawmakers, nearly 70 Texas businesses and chambers of commerce voice their opposition to Senate Bill 6, saying the bill would legalize discrimination, is unnecessary and poses a significant threat to Texas’ economy.
“As leaders in the Texas business community, we have an obligation to our employees, customers, shareholders and the Texas communities we serve to oppose discriminatory legislation that jeopardizes the positive environment for our Texas business operations,” wrote the businesses and chamber organizations that represent all parts of our state, as well as a broad cross-section of industries.
Keep Texas Open for Business letter emphasizes the economic toll, threats to travel and tourism, costly legal and operational concerns and impact on Texas businesses’ ability to recruit and retain top talent in the workforce.
The complete Keep Texas Open for Business letter is available online at www.keeptxopen.org/bizletter, and the complete list of companies and organizations signing the letter is included below.
In addition to the concerns outlined in the letter, Fortune 500 company Celanese, based in Irving, expressed additional concern about the legislation’s impact on Celanese and other businesses’ ability to build a skilled workforce needed for economic growth.
“Celanese’s opposition to SB 6 reflects the indisputable fact that it will undermine Texas’ ability to create the kind of exemplary, diverse and accomplished work force that is essential to Texas’ economic success. The fact that it does so without any data showing that it addresses a legitimate law enforcement issue compounds its many flaws,” said Mark Rohr, CEO of Celanese.
These concerns about the discriminatory legislation’s impact on Texas businesses and their workforce were echoed by Austin-based Silicon Labs, which noted that there are other important priorities for the 85th Legislature.
“To recruit, hire, and retain top employees, Texas companies must stand against discriminatory bills like SB 6,” said Silicon Labs Chief People Officer Lori Knowlton. “Our legislature should focus on building our state’s talent pipeline, increasing our number of skilled workers, and improving our education system to continue the long-term growth of our strong Texas economy.”
Texas businesses, both large and small, have signed the Keep Texas Open for Business letter. TEKVOX CEO James Reinhart explained his company’s opposition, “I think that SB 6 sets Texas back 50-plus years in the eyes of the world, and I am constantly reminded by my business partners in the US and Asia that they are all cognizant of this regressive push. It will be the end of Texas leadership as a great place to do business.”
“If state leaders pass SB 6 and other discriminatory bills, Texas could lose billions of dollars in GDP, a critical loss of revenue that would threaten the state’s ability to fund public education, transportation and other essential state services,” said Chris Wallace, president of Texas Association of Business. “The economic impact is very real and very significant. Consider the losses that continue to pile up in North Carolina due to House Bill 2, a law that tracks very closely with Texas’ SB 6.”
Keep Texas Open for Business also noted that they support the goal of protecting the security and privacy of all Texans, but called SB 6 “unnecessary” legislation, noting that many Texas law enforcement officials found that such laws would not improve public safety.
Keep Texas Open for Business pointed to news reports, quoting Lt. Gov. Patrick’s staff who said the office had not consulted with law enforcement on development or enforcement of SB 6.
To learn more about the potential economic impact and business case for opposing SB 6, visit www.keeptxopen.org.
The following companies and chambers of commerce signed the Keep Texas Open for Business open letter to Texas leaders and lawmakers:
Alamo Drafthouse, Albemarle, Amazon, AMD, American Airlines, American Society of Association Executives, Apple, Arconic, Atlassian, Ben & Jerry’s, Bishop Avenue Capital, Bracewell LLP, Capital Factory, Capital One, Cedar Park Chamber of Commerce, Celanese, Choice Hotels, Civitas Capital Group, CompTIA, CompX International, Dell Inc., Destination El Paso, Dow Chemical, eBay, Facebook, Fort Bend Chamber of Commerce, Google, Google Fiber, Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce, Greater El Paso Chamber of Commerce, GSD&M, Haynes & Boone, Hilton, HP, IBM, Indeed, Intel, InterContinental Hotels Group, Ketchum, Kronos Worldwide, La Quinta Inns & Suites, Marriott International, McShan Florist Inc., Microsoft, NL Industries, North San Antonio Chamber of Commerce, NXP, PayPal, Plano Chamber of Commerce, RetailMeNot, Round Rock Chamber, Salesforce, Samsung Austin Semiconductor, Sanders\Wingo, Silicon Labs, South Padre Island Chamber of Commerce, Strasburger & Price LLP, SXSW, TechNet, TEKVOX, Tenet Healthcare, Texas Association of Business, Thompson & Knight LLP, Under Armour, Unilever, United Airlines, VisitDallas, Xoxco, Inc.
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