AUSTIN, Texas – The Mexican American Legislative Caucus held a press conference with business leaders at the Texas Capitol on Tuesday to discuss the negative economic consequences Senate Bill 4 would have on the Texas economy.
Business leaders at the press conference came prepared with data on the financial loses Texas is already experiencing over the backlash of SB 4.
House members also emphasized the economic backlash other states like California and Arizona experienced when they passed similar immigration policy.
Chair of the Mexican American Legislative Caucus, Texas State Representative Rafael Anchia, D-Dallas, said they would continue to highlight the economic consequences of legislation like SB 4, and to fight the policy through repeal and in court.
“We must look at six findings on intentional discrimination against the state of Texas by three federal courts across the state,” Anchia said.
“We must look at the fact that we have a ‘Paper’s Please bill’ in Texas much like we saw in both through Prop 187 and Arizona’s 1070 and now we’re looking at a discriminatory bathroom bill. All these things, you cannot look at them in isolation, you must look at them in their totality because that’s how business looks at them. That’s how business looks at them when they’re looking at the Texas brand. The Texas brand has already been taint ladies and gentlemen.”
Texas State Representative Ramon Romero, D-Fort Worth, continued to emphasize the effect other anti-immigration policy had in California and Arizona, eventually leading to immigrants leaving the state and devastating the state’s economy.
“We’ve already seen in this country what happens when anti-discriminatory bills, anti-immigrant bills, like prop 187 in California 1994,” Romero said.
“We saw the exodus of people that left California for other states, mainly Texas. In 2010 with SB 1070 in Arizona, Arizona saw the exodus of the working class people leave to other states, neighboring states, like Nevada, New Mexico, and Texas. Why is Texas taking the lead on anti-immigrant bills already knowing that history will repeat themselves; the people will leave.”
Phillip Jones, the CEO of Dallas Convention & Visitors Bureau, said legislation like SB 4 has already caused a loss of $66 million in hotel bookings in Texas, and the potential for more losses with other pieces of legislation like Senate Bill 6, also known as the “bathroom bill.”
“It’s very scary for the state of Texas to think that if this legislation were to pass what the result would be. So, we quantified across the state of Texas so far just because we’re talking about discriminatory legislation such as sanctuary cities, we lost 66 million dollars in bookings, 38,000 room nights that have canceled as a result of passing bills like sanctuary cities.”
Jones continued by estimating the negative effects of SB 6 if it were to pass:
“In addition to that, should a bathroom bill or other discriminatory legislation pass in Texas, we are in the hope for another 205 million dollars that will cancel the day after a bathroom bill passes should that happen, God forbid,” Jones said. “And then an additional 1.1 billion dollars is on the line, they’re waiting to see what happens with discriminatory legislation in Texas before they make a final decision. So, added together that’s 1.4 billion dollars that will immediately go away and hotel room nights and bookings for the state of Texas, that’s over half a million-room nights that will go way if this type of legislation were to pass.”
Jones warned that the combined economic consequences of SB 4 and SB 6 would tarnish the Texas brand.
“So that’s why discriminatory laws like sanctuary cities and bathroom bills are so bad for the Texas economy,” Jones said. “It would destroy the Texas brand and make it very difficult for us to overcome this type of issue for the very, very, foreseeable future.”
The treasurer of the Texas Association of Business (TAB), Bob Cartwright, said SB 4 would reduce the labor supply of major industries like construction, hospitality and agriculture.
“In all of our legislative work we have maintained our commitment to the values that ensure Texas economy flourishes,” Cartwright said. “When looking at legislation, TAB always looks to protect jobs and paychecks so Texas can be the best place to live or to raise a family. Safety of our citizens is also important, which is why TAB understands and respects the intent of SB 4, but we disagree on how wide of a net it casts. With the passage of SB 4, TAB is concerned that the economic impact and the labor supply of Texas can be reduced in industries such as construction, hospitality and agriculture.”
Anchia said they will continue to push for repeal of certain provisions in SB 4, and to stop discriminatory legislation with the help of the business community.
“We are going to use every conceivable tool that we have at our disposal to stop discriminatory bills,” Anchia said. “The stakes are too high here in the state of Texas. We are united with the business community in making sure that Texas is not damaged any further by discriminatory legislation. I would say that everything is on the table but I feel that the tools we have in front of us will permit us to stop this.”