Business engagement in the fight to advance nondiscrimination policies and prevent anti-LGBT bills from becoming law is more important now than ever before. In fact, businesses have become some of the most powerful and committed proponents of nondiscrimination measures: such policies are vital for attracting and retaining top talent, fostering innovation, and maintaining and growing economic competitiveness.
That’s why we’ve created dozens of advocacy and education programs in more than 30 states – including nearly a dozen state business coalitions to give corporate America a vehicle for making the business case for nondiscrimination. Our partnerships with the business community have helped stop discriminatory bills from becoming law in Texas, Indiana, Georgia, Missouri, Tennessee, South Dakota and other states. Together, we’ve secured passage of historic public accommodations protections in Massachusetts, advanced comprehensive nondiscrimination legislation further than it’s ever gotten in Florida and Pennsylvania, and laid the groundwork for proactive nondiscrimination policies in Arizona.
We believe it’s time to harness and centralize the power of business engagement through a coordinated, national coalition.
That’s why we developed America Competes. This program will serve as the central organizing platform for businesses looking to engage externally on issues of nondiscrimination. Businesses participating in America Competes will get real-time legislative analysis, strategic guidance on where and when to engage in advocacy efforts, and the best messaging, social media support and research available to guide your organization’s efforts. As a member of America Competes, we’ll work with you to tailor the information you receive based on the states in which you’re operating, the policies those states are considering, and the ongoing public education and advocacy needs in that state.
There’s growing awareness that discriminatory measures have tangible impacts on economic conditions. North Carolina and Indiana both experienced significant ramifications following the enactment of anti-LGBT laws, and businesses in Texas are already sharing economic indicators warning of similar losses in the Lone Star State.
North Carolina’s HB 2 law – which bans transgender people from using restrooms in public schools, universities and government buildings – has gained national headlines. But a growing body of evidence makes it clear that there’s more than just headlines and political posturing – the law has cost North Carolina nearly a billion dollars in lost revenue since it was enacted:
- The Charlotte Chamber estimated that the law cost the region approximately $285 million by May 2016 – just two months after enactment.
- PayPal withdrew a planned investment from North Carolina – costing the state hundreds of jobs and at least $4 million in investments.
- Deutsche Bank also canceled an expansion into the Tar Heel State, costing $27 million and 250 jobs.
- The Greater Raleigh Convention and Visitors Bureau estimates the law has cost their region north of $40 million as of summer 2016.
- Greensboro has lost about $6 million from conferences that have relocated, while Asheville estimates losses around $2 million.
- CoStar relocated a planned research operations center to Richmond, Virginia rather than Charlotte – specifically because of HB 2. The missed opportunity cost Charlotte 730 jobs and approximately $250 million in investments.
- The Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority estimates the NBA’s removal of the 2017 All-Star Game from Charlotte cost the region at least $100 million in lost revenue.
- The NCAA relocated 7 championship games, which officials in Greensboro expect cost them more than $16 million, while officials in Cary estimate they’d lose around $2.5 million.
- The ACC pulled its title game and six other championships from North Carolina, costing Charlotte as much as $30 million based on revenue from the 2015 game.
- Nationwide, a stunning 97 percent of event planners were aware of anti-LGBT laws passed in Mississippi and North Carolina in 2016, and nearly 50 percent said they would “absolutely” avoid planning events in states with discriminatory laws on the books.
Businesses and associations of all sizes are making clear that SB 6, legislation that closely mirrors North Carolina’s HB 2 law, would have a disastrous impact on Texas’ flourishing economy. In December 2016, the Texas Association of Business – the leading employer association in the state – issued an economic impact survey detailing the effects of discriminatory bills like SB 6. The report found that anti-LGBT legislation would cost Texas hundreds of millions of dollars in lost revenue in the first year alone.
The Texas Association of Business economic impact survey warned that the Lone Star State’s travel and tourism industry was particularly vulnerable to discriminatory legislation, and would be among the first sectors to feel its impact. According to the Texas Association of Business, the travel and tourism industry employs more than 1.1 million Texans, brings in over $6 billion in local and state tax revenues, and drives more than $69 billion through the state’s economic engines.
Indiana is one of the earliest states to experience an immediate and measurable economic backlash to anti-LGBT legislation. In early 2015, Indiana lawmakers passed – and then-Governor Mike Pence signed into law – an unnecessary policy that allowed for discrimination against LGBT people.
Visit Indy found that Indianapolis lost more than $60 million in economic opportunities, including the loss of at least 12 conventions, because of the law. After the law’s enactment, the Indiana Economic Development Coalition found that nearly 83 percent of economic investment commitments and 58 percent of new high-wage jobs were awarded to municipalities with human rights ordinances that protect LGBT people from discrimination.