TAB Sends Letter to Senate Opposing SB 6
March 14, 2017
P.O. Box 12068 Capitol Station Austin, TX 78711
The Texas Association of Business (TAB) appreciated the opportunity to testify on behalf of Texas businesses at the Senate State Affairs hearing on CSSB 6. We commend the Senators who gave such serious consideration to all the testimony, especially Senator Lois Kolkhorst, who was clearly moved by the testimony of over 300 people about how this bill will affect their lives.
As the state’s leading conservative business voice, we’ve played a big role in our state’s most challenging and important legislative, regulatory and judicial debates over the years. In all of our legislative work, we have maintained our commitment to the values that ensure Texas’ economy flourishes.
TAB and our members believe everyone deserves to be treated fairly and equally, and we believe that this is a twenty-first-century economic imperative. Our opposition to SB 6 is grounded in the threat it poses to those very Texas, very pro-business values. Our Board of Directors includes businesses from diverse industries across Texas that make a significant contribution to our state’s economy, and our Board unanimously approved TAB’s policy to oppose discriminatory legislation like SB 6.
During the testimony given on Tuesday, several convention and visitors’ bureaus documented losses from numerous organizations that have already indicated they will cancel their plans for Texas if SB 6 is passed. As of this writing, the likely direct spending losses total $407 million1, which equates to a total $728.6 million in GDP impact when a standard multiplier is used.2
North Carolina’s Lt. Gov. Forest acknowledged that HB2 has “hurt North Carolina’s economy” and PolitiFact North Carolina found HB2 cost the state between $450 million and $630 million and at least 1,400 jobs in less than one year.3
If the negative impact to Texas mirrors North Carolina’s losses4, it would equate5 to up to $1.59 billion of lost GDP in less than a year. You can see from the figures above that we are almost halfway to that figure, well before SB 6 has even reached the Senate floor.
We ask you to consider these losses in terms of how they will hurt countless small businesses, the workers they employ, and the families those workers support. It will negatively impact state and local tax revenues, and in turn, the essential education and public safety budgets those revenues support.
To put the current figures into context, $407 million in direct travel & tourism spending drives close to $23 million in state tax revenues6, revenues that could fund annual salaries for more than 500 Child Protective Services investigative caseworkers,7 making significant progress towards meeting an emergency need for our state.
Although Lt. Gov. Forest came to Texas and tried to minimize the negative impacts to his state, he did not deny that the losses were due to HB2. Our job at TAB is to ensure a positive climate for the businesses that are the backbone of our state’s economy and the communities that thrive when those businesses thrive. We
sses due to SB 6 will cause real pain to Texas families.
These losses would result from legislation that law enforcement officials consistently state will not improve safety in Texas:8
- “Texas has been governing illegal bathroom behavior for a while now. I’m not sure what the problem is that we’re trying to address.” — Charley Wilkinson, executive director for Combined Law Enforcement Associations of Texas.
- “SAPD has not received any criminal complaints involving sexual assaults in public restrooms.” — San Antonio Police Chief McManus
- “We haven’t seen these types of incidents here. Not an issue.” — El Paso PD Sergeant Enrique Carillo
- “I have never heard of any cases in which a suspect entered a public restroom while being dressed as a woman, or claiming to be transgender, and sexually assaulted a female victim, nor have I heard of a male and assaulting another male victim in this manner.” — Austin PD Detective Mike Crumrine
In addition, the Texas Association Against Sexual Assault has clearly stated that “such legislation does not protect women and children, but instead contradicts decades of research.” And the American Federation of Teachers has said that “this bill isn’t about providing safety or privacy.”
During the SB 6 committee hearing we heard, and respect, heartfelt testimony from individuals concerned about their privacy and modesty. We understand that there is a significant learning curve for many Texans when it comes to the lives of transgender people. But, given the overwhelming economic evidence, and the clear rejection of the public safety argument from Texas law enforcement, we feel we must continue to advocate to Keep Texas Open for Business and to maintain our state’s reputation as a welcoming place for visitors and businesses.
Please oppose SB 6 when the bill is considered for a vote on the Senate floor. Thank you for your leadership on behalf of businesses in Texas.
Chris E. Wallace, CCE, IOM President
Texas Association of Business
1 The Texas Competes coalition is tracking the public statements and confirmations of likely economic losses for Texas should SB 6 become law. The list and amounts continue to increase. You can find that tabulation at http://bit.ly/2mpViOJ.
5 Texas 2015 GDP was $1.59 trillion http://www.politifact.com/texas/statements/2016/sep/15/greg-abbott/greg-abbott-says-if- texas-were-country-its-economy/
6 General direct travel spending translates to roughly 5.53% in state tax revenue, per https://travel.texas.gov/tti/media/PDFs/TXImp15pRev2_1.pdf
7 Current investigative caseworker salary (average): $44,000 http://www.dallasnews.com/news/texas-legislature/2016/10/27/every- child-protective-services-worker-receive-12000-raise-chiefs-new-plan
8 The three cities cited have transgender-inclusive non-discrimination protections, and these statements are backed up by dozens of law enforcement officials around the country.