Texas politicians really want to micromanage business | News, Sports, Jobs



Froma Harrop, union columnist

Texas Governor Greg Abbott talks a lot about his love, love, love for private business – how his state doesn’t tax big incomes and regulates with a light hand. The actual performance of Texan companies – relatively poor lately – will not be helped by Abbott’s thirst to invade company boards and give orders.

A recent law prohibits state investment in companies that sever ties with the oil and gas industry. The main targets of sanctions include JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, Citigroup and Goldman Sachs.

Another prevents local governments from working with banks that limit investment in gun companies: A double sign of hypocrisy from self-proclaimed conservatives, the law allows Texas politicians to interfere in judgments business leaders while reducing the power of local governments.

As far as is known, Texas lawmakers have the right to prohibit companies from obtaining state business based on their social priorities. Cities and liberal states have not shied away from trying to apply their own political litmus tests to government contracts.

But really, is it good for business? Backflipping to portray themselves as the ultimate on the right, Abbott and other MAGA nanny state advocates seem to think the lure of lower personal taxes will overcome any reluctance of companies to move their operations to policy hotbeds. offensive.

Texas may be playing with fire. Dell Technologies, Apple, Facebook, Microsoft, American Airlines, IBM and HP have already criticized Republican leaders for dragging them into some of their right-wing games.

JPMorgan is not an easily busted small fast food chain. As Cullum Clark, who heads the Bush Institute-SMU Economic Growth Initiative, told Bloomberg, “Wall Street is strong. They are not weak entities that have no resources. I think they are watching closely.

Some of Texas’ most enlightened civic leaders fear that the new law virtually banning abortions in Texas – along with others seen as rigged elections in favor of Republicans – could push back the educated young workers companies want to bring into their operations. in Texas.

Then there’s Abbott’s order banning private companies from requiring proof of vaccination. What’s his business to prevent companies from protecting their operations from COVID-19 infections? The Greater Houston Partnership, a group of companies whose members are Exxon Mobil and Chevron, criticized the executive order. American Airlines and Southwest blatantly ignore it. As for the presence of young, educated workers, one of Abbott’s selling points: Some tech companies have moved their businesses, not so much to the red heart of Texas, but to the blue bubble cities – Houston, Dallas and , above all, Austin. These strongholds of political moderation can try, but they really can’t prevent the right-wing strangeness that befalls them in battalions.

As for its attractiveness to investors, Texas has a much better PR service than actual results. Shares of Texas-listed companies in the Russell 3000 Index have risen 383% since 2010. That number was eclipsed by the 2,760% jump in shares of California companies during the same period. Even companies based in New York, where shares rose 493%, outperformed those in Texas.

In pandemic year 2020 – when the US office rental business plunged 36% from the previous year – the main market for large office space leased by tech companies was the region. of Seattle, according to CBRE. Number 2 was Manhattan, which suggests that the biggest talent pools aren’t tied to the lowest tax rates.

Too bad for Abbott’s nonstop boasts that Texas is the best for business. When it comes to the performance of the business under his leadership, Abbott has a lot of hat, just a few cattle and a ton of BS.

Editor’s Note: Follow Froma Harrop on Twitter @FromaHarrop. She can be reached at fharrop@gmail.com. To learn more about Froma Harrop and read articles from other Creators writers and designers, visit the Creators website at www.creators.com.

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