Reliably Austin
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Many object to restrictive laws, but few businesses are likely to abandon Texas because of its politics

Opponents of Senate Bill 8, the restrictive Texas abortion law, protest outside the Texas Capitol.
Michael Minasi
Opponents of Senate Bill 8, the restrictive Texas abortion law, protest outside the Texas Capitol.

From Texas Standard:

Texas has received its share of attention from activists encouraging corporations to boycott the state over contentious political matters like Senate Bill 8, the restrictive new abortion law. Corporations have also signaled their discomfort about changes to voting procedures and a bill that imposes restrictions transgender athletes. But it's not clear whether companies promising to renege on planned expansions or canceling the relocation of major events here will make that much of a difference to the Texas economy.

Shelly Hagan is a reporter at Bloomberg who focuses on the Texas economy. She told Texas Standard that the business community has expressed outrage over Gov. Greg Abbott's ban on COVID-19 vaccine mandates, including for private employers.

"They do feel like the government is getting involved in business, [when] Texas is known as the opposite of that," Hagan said.

But despite their objections to the state's actions, Hagan says it's likely that corporations will continue to see Texas as a place where they want to do business. Affordability, the lack of a state income tax and a favorable regulatory climate are all likely to keep individuals and businesses coming here.

"Obviously, everyone who moves to Texas might not align with Gov. Abbott's recent legislation, but they kind of do see [it] as a lot of political noise, and they expect they can kind of make a difference in the state," she said.

Hagan says that while it's difficult to pinpoint a particular piece of legislation that could be a tipping point in discouraging businesses from moving to Texas, continued passage of laws that are seen as restricting human rights could have a long-term impact on the rate of economic growth in the state.

Rhonda joined KUT in late 2013 as producer for the station's new daily news program, Texas Standard. Rhonda will forever be known as the answer to the trivia question, “Who was the first full-time hire for The Texas Standard?” She’s an Iowa native who got her start in public radio at WFSU in Tallahassee, while getting her Master's Degree in Library Science at Florida State University. Prior to joining KUT and The Texas Standard, Rhonda was a producer for Wisconsin Public Radio.