Biz Group Claims Trans Bathroom Ban Bad for Texas

The Texas Association of Business has released a study that claims a transgender bathroom bills will be devastating for the local economy. They urge Texas lawmakers not to enact any “discriminatory” legislation. A Texas senator called the claim “wild speculation.”

On Tuesday, the TAB released a study entitled “Keep Texas Open for Business.” The business organization said the report found 185,000 jobs in Texas at risk, and finds that there would be up to a $8.5 billion GDP loss if Texas passes the “so-called” “Religious Freedom” and “Bathroom Bills.”

The TAB released the report, urging legislators to “reject discriminatory legislation.”

Texas State Senator Paul Bettencourt (R-Houston) emailed Breitbart Texas after the release:

The TAB study has NO basis in any mathematical reality I know of! It is a weird extrapolation of wild speculation of other states’ laws that are not even on the books in most cases. The fact that the bill isn’t even published makes it impossible to score and their range of $964 million to $8.5 billion is prepostorous by any study standards. It is really sad to see TAB release such conjecture.

The Texas Association of Business commissioned two separate studies to look at “the potential economic repercussions of Texas state legislators advancing an amended Texas Religious Freedom Restoration Act (TRFRA) in the 85th Legislative Session.”

Researchers at Austin’s St. Edward’s University conducted the study.

According to the TAB, the first study took “quantitative data reflecting attitudes of Texas businesses” and analyzed it. They report that the second study collected quantitative and qualitative data taken from studies in states in the U.S. that have enacted religious liberty policies.

The Texas Legislative session will begin on January 10, 2017.

The study “is part of a newly formed, broad-based, statewide coalition of businesses committed to ‘Keep Texas Open for Business’.”

Lawyer and Texas State Representative-elect Briscoe Cain told Breitbart Texas, “The TAB is known for shamelessly pushing crony capitalism, but they generally stay away from the hot buttons. Well now the phony pro-business group in Texas has finally showed it’s true colors and wants to open business owners up to fines and lawsuits if they don’t give troubled men unfettered access to women’s bathrooms.” Cain is a Republican from Deer Park, Texas.

Chris Wallace, president of the TAB says, “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. We must Keep Texas Open for Business. We cannot slam the door on the Texas Miracle of openness, competitiveness, economic opportunity and innovation.”

The TAB urges that passage of the legislation would be discriminatory and would “drastically impact Texas’ convention and tourism industry.” The business organization says this industry has an economic impact of $69 billion and generates more than $6 billion in state and local tax revenues. The industry also directly and indirectly supports more than 1.1 million jobs in the State.

State Representative Sarah Davis (R-Houston) says, “Texas needs to continue to strive for excellence in education, infrastructure, and health.” “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 stood on the steps of the Texas State Capitol in Austin with the TAB president and GSD&M’s Stewart at the release of the study.

The website of the Texas State Historical Association states that the Texas Association of Business and the Texas Chamber of Commerce, the two largest employer organizations in the state, merged to form the Texas Association of Business and Chambers of Commerce in 1995. The Texas Association of Business says the organization can be traced back to the Texas State Manufacturers Association which was founded in 1922. The Texas Chamber of Commerce was created in 1988 when the regional chambers of commerce merged. The TABCC is headquartered in Austin.

Jonathan Saenz, president of Texas Values told Breitbart Texas, “Texas’ economy is a shining example that religious freedom and common-sense values are good for business. TAB’s claim that our economy will implode unless the government forces private business and public schools to open women’s bathrooms and locker rooms to men is laughable and dishonest and is simply the latest example of TAB parroting radical LGBT propaganda. As the Houston voters have shown us (61-39%), rejecting efforts to allow men into women’s bathrooms is supported overwhelmingly by Texans and is good for business. Rogue local officials and the federal government are not listening to voters, but Texas leaders are and they intend to settle this issue statewide once and for all.”

Texas business leaders fought hard against religious liberty bills during the 84th legislative session in 2015, Breitbart Texas reported. TAB CEO Bill Hammond joined with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) to work against new legislation and in support of Houston’s “bathroom ordinance” that would have allowed men to enter women’s bathrooms, locker rooms and dressing areas.

Hammond told legislators that then Houston Mayor Anise Parker’s bathroom ordinance was good for business in Texas. The “Bathroom Ordinance” as the Houston Equal Rights Ordiance (“HERO”) was referred to, was soundly defeated by Houston voters. Breitbart Texas reported about the fight and litigation against the ordinance and its 61-to-39 vote defeat. The litigation cost conservatives and those against the ordinance hundreds of thousands of dollars to fight the ordinance.

Andy Taylor, the lawyer for the pastors and other citizens working to defeat the bathroom ordinance told Breitbart Texas that they got hit with court costs even though they won. He says the law should change to allow for recovering for these legal fees when as a result of defending religious liberty issues, they prevail in court.

The Rev. Dave Welch, executive director Texas Pastor Council, told Breitbart Texas the study was as credible as former Houston Mayor Parker’s previous threat that failing to pass the HERO ordinance would risk the city’s hosting of Super Bowl LI, scheduled for 2017.

Lana Shadwick is a writer and legal analyst for Breitbart Texas. She has served as a prosecutor and associate judge in Texas. Follow her on Twitter @LanaShadwick2.


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