By Catarina Saraiva and Brendan Case | Bloomberg
In the past ten years, due to low taxes, lax regulations and urban prosperity, Texas has attracted nearly 4 million people and a large number of employers. However, a provocative attitude toward Covid restrictions, new restrictions on voting rights, and the country’s strictest abortion laws now may weaken its appeal for future initiatives.
In recent years, companies including Apple, Toyota Motor Corporation and Tesla have moved their businesses and college-educated creative workers to Texas. Enclaves like the Montrose neighborhoods of Austin and Houston feel a bit like San Francisco, with lower and lower humidity. Now these workers find themselves in a country that has taken a far-right stance in the culture war, which has a national impact on women’s autonomy and presidential politics.
“Other states are competing for population,” said Tammy Wallace, chief executive of the LGBT Chamber of Commerce in Greater Houston. “If you look at what our state is doing, and you see that they are not doing these things in another state, you might say,’OK, the money is good, but where do I want to support my family?'”
In an interview with CNBC, Republican Governor Greg Abbott defended the new restrictions on voting rights and abortion rights, saying that “many” businesses and residents like these laws. He also asserted that Tesla CEO Elon Musk agrees with Texas’ social policy.
With a 5-4 vote, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to block a new Texas law that prohibits most abortions after six weeks of pregnancy. The measure took effect on Wednesday and is the country’s most restrictive measure.
No major companies talked about the law on Wednesday. But Bumble Inc., an online dating app based in Austin, Texas, said on Instagram on Wednesday night that it had created “a relief fund to support women and people of different genders seeking abortions in Texas. Reproductive rights”.
The state now bans most abortions in the sixth week before many women know they are pregnant. The challenger told the court that the measure would prohibit at least 85% of women seeking abortion in the country’s second most populous state.
The law’s enforcement mechanism allows private groups to sue clinics or anyone who helps women have abortions, but it does not authorize government officials to prosecute suspected offenders. Proponents of abortion access say this is a way of bypassing the High Court’s Roe v. Wade ruling — which originated in a case in Texas — which guarantees the right to the procedure. They worry that it will become a national template.
Planned Parenthood said in a tweet on Thursday: “The Supreme Court disregarded 50 years of precedent and allowed patients to have abortions in Texas almost impossible.” “The impact of this heinous abortion ban cannot be underestimated. We cannot be underestimated. Will never stop striving to provide our patients with the care they need.”
According to a poll conducted by the Pew Research Center this spring, more educated people are more supportive of legal abortion. Approximately 50% of people with a high school degree or below support legal abortion, while the proportion of people with a graduate degree is about 71%. These are the workers that Texas has been attracting.
The company played an important role in the politics of the Donald Trump era and its aftermath, as Republican governors tried to please the supporters of the former president, many of whom rejected the legitimacy of Joe Biden’s election and rejected public health measures. After Georgia imposed voting restrictions, Major League Baseball moved the All-Star Game from Atlanta to Atlanta. In Florida, cruise lines and Governor Ron DeSantis (Ron DeSantis) argued about the coronavirus vaccine requirements.
Several companies issued statements on Wednesday condemning the Texas State Voting Act passed the night before, which would ban many local policies designed to help vote during the pandemic. Critics say the purpose is to suppress Democratic votes, especially in diverse cities such as Houston. Abbott has pledged to sign the measure in the name of vote security, and supporters say it actually makes voting easier.
Many major employers hold different views.
Anna Walker, vice president of public affairs at Levi Strauss & Co., said: “The new Texas voting law restricts rather than expands voting opportunities.” The San Francisco company has stores in the state, and Walker said it will “continue to ensure that all of us Of American employees know the changing voting laws and how it will affect where and how they vote, and support them and their communities in their efforts to fully participate in our democracy.”
The bill puts an end to drive-thru voting, further restricts the already restricted mail voting program, and empowers partisan voting observers. Earlier this year, this measure has aroused strong opposition from major companies such as Hewlett-Packard, Microsoft and Fort Worth-based American Airlines Group.
These companies said in a statement in May that we “oppose any change that would restrict qualified voters from getting votes.” “When we hold free and fair elections to protect the fundamental rights of all Texans, our democracy will uphold freedom.”
HP said on Wednesday that it will continue to support reforms that allow more people to vote.
An Apple spokesperson said the company declined to comment. Toyota and Tesla did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
The Abbott office did not respond to a request for comment on Wednesday. In a prepared statement, he called the meeting that produced the voting bill “a great success.” In May of this year, he said that the abortion law “ensures that the life of every unborn baby with a heartbeat is protected from abortion.”
Ray Perryman, a former economist at Wacobell University, said that the election bill, abortion laws, frictions on transgender issues, and school curricula all add up, and he has been tracking the state of Texas’ economy. 40 years.
“Knowledge workers are overwhelmingly opposed to this kind of thing. They are the single largest resource for high-growth companies,” Perryman said.
Over the years, Abbott and his predecessor, Rick Perry, have been actively seeking companies from other states, especially California, but they did not perform at first. But Tesla has now built a new factory in Austin and has achieved other successes.
The governing conservatives in Texas — no Democrats have been elected to public office across the state since the early 1990s — often clash with immigrants from places like California and the state’s diverse cities. District boundaries have diluted votes from Houston, Austin, and Dallas, all of which have Democratic leaders and empower rural conservatives.
The legislature, like the two seats in the U.S. Senate, has been firmly controlled by the Republican Party. After the re-division of constituencies this year, the state will receive two seats in the US House of Representatives, a process that may consolidate Austin’s party control.
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