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Abbott Slams New York Ad that Paints Texas as Discriminatory

Shelby Knowles
Texas Tribune

After years of Texas trying to lure businesses away from other states, New York has struck back — with an ad that paints the Lone Star State as unwelcoming and discriminatory to the LGBT community.

The two-minute ad released by New York’s chief economic development agency highlights the Empire State’s principles of inclusion and equality, claiming these characteristics make it welcoming for all businesses.

Gov. Greg Abbott disputed the ad and pointed to New York's taxes and regulations as a hostile business environment.

The ad begins against a backdrop of black-and-white video of the Statue of Liberty and immigrants at Ellis Island. A woman’s voice states, “For hundreds of years, New York state has stood as a beacon — a beacon that arose to welcome those unwelcome in other places.”

New York has opened its doors to the LGBT community when others have not, the ad continues. Headlines from newspapers around the country indicate Texas, North Carolina and Mississippi have pushed for discriminatory policies.

Abbott responded to the ad on Twitter:

The two states have battled over businesses for years. New York is home to the most Fortune 500 companies in the nation, with 55 businesses headquartered there. But Texas is right on its heels, with 54 Fortune 500 companies of its own, according to a list released by Fortune Magazine in 2015.

In 2013, former Gov. Rick Perry launched aggressive campaigns in New York, California and Illinois to attract businesses to Texas. In New York, he spent $1 million on TV advertisements that promoted the Lone Star State’s pro-business approach and strong economy.

Abbott has continued his predecessor’s work, even urging British businesses to declare independence on July 4 by moving to Texas.

Abbott's tweet highlights the fact that more than 21,000 people moved from New York to Texas in 2013 — about 6,000 more than the number of people who made the opposite trip, according to an analysis by the Office of the Texas State Demographer.

This story was produced by the Texas Tribune.

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