Business Group Says HB2-Style Law Would Cost Lone Star State's Economy Up To $8.5 Billion
If the Texas Legislature passes anti-LGBT legislation next year, the state's economy stands to lose up to $8.5 billion and 185,000 jobs, according to a recent study by the Texas Association of Business, which is the state's chamber of commerce.Â
The chamber'sÂ study is based on actual or projected losses in four states where lawmakers have passed or considered anti-LGBT legislation in recent years â€” Arizona, Indiana, Louisiana and North Carolina.
But Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick, who's made an anti-transgender "bathroom bill" one of his top priorities for next year's legislative session, this week accused the chamber of "fear-mongering."Â
"This report by the Texas Association of Business is misinformation and fear-mongering regarding a bill they haven't even seen," Patrick said in a statement. "In fact, the Women's Privacy and Business Protection Act that the lieutenant governor intends to support will ensure that sexual predators, like those who exploit the internet, will not be able to freely enter women's restrooms, locker rooms or showers and that businesses are not forced by local ordinances to allow men in women's restrooms and locker rooms. This legislation does not discriminate against any individual or target any group."
The irony, of course, is that Patrick's hateful anti-trans campaign is based entirely on the fear-mongering lie that nondiscrimination ordinances lead to sexual predators entering women's restrooms to prey on victims. In 2015, Patrick helped lead the charge against the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance, or HERO, which voters overwhelmingly repealed thanks to a disgusting TV ad depicting a cisgender man following a young girl into a bathroom stall:Â
Patrick's anti-trans bathroom bill has not yet been filed, but according to his statements, it would be nearly identical to North Carolinas' House Bill 2, which led to the NCAA moving the 2017 Final Four out of Charlotte. The 2018 Final Four is scheduled for San Antonio, where officials estimate the event will bring in $75 million. Nevertheless, one state senator from San Antonio, Republican Donna Campbell, said this week she isn't worried about economic backlash â€” and that Patrick's bill is needed to keep Texas a "beacon of hope." Â
â€œIâ€™d like to see Texas values not hijacked for the sake of football, basketball,â€ Campbell said. "We have got a great state, provides hope for many, thatâ€™s why theyâ€™re coming here all the time, and weâ€™ve got a business climate that everybody comes to. But we do have to draw the line to maintain those values that not only keep Texas, but keep the United States, that beacon of hope.â€
The Texas Legislature convenes Jan. 10.Â