Based on a new study by The Perryman Group, Texas stands to lose $31.4 billion in annual gross product and nearly 223,000 jobs over the next five years if Texas Republicans’ omnibus voter restriction measures, House Bill 6 and Senate Bill 7, were to pass.
The estimate includes decreased business activity from lower earnings, job losses, reduced household purchasing power and tourism and economic development losses
After Texas corporations took a stand against HB 6 and SB 7 last week, the 74 page report is the first look at what happens to the Texas economy should the restrictive voting measures become law. This type of impact analysis was not heard in either bills’ committee hearings in the House and Senate, but should come up as SB 7 heads to the House Elections Committee and HB 6 heads to the House floor.
The Perryman Group looked at the two different buckets for the economic impact of the bills. The first was internal losses, which is what happens in the Texas labor market as it relates to earnings, employment losses and the spillover on household purchasing power. The second was external losses, which comes from reduced travel and tourism and economic development.
Decades of research showing restricting ballot access to certain groups has adverse impacts on their earnings. These lower earnings also impact workforce participation and employment, which in turn affect household budgets and consumer spending. The report found Texas could lose $9.4 billion in personal income, $14.7 billion in annual gross product and 73,000 jobs over the next five years with the proposed voting restriction measures.
Based on survey information, The Perryman Group has an idea of how many convention planners avoid states for controversial laws, like HB 6 and SB 7, to avoid an appearance of supporting the policy. The most recent national example is the MLB decision to move the All-Star game away from Atlanta for Georgia’s voting restriction laws. A single conference could cost Texas $54 million. A lost Super Bowl hosting opportunity could cost Texas $1.75 billion.
The study also looked at socially conscious consumers who have been shown to avoid such areas for travel, be it for business or leisure. The report estimates Texas could lose $4.1 billion in personal income, $6.6 billion in annual gross product and 60,000 jobs in the tourism sector over the next five years due to the proposed voting restriction measures.
On economic development, controversial laws tend to diminish the ability to attract knowledge workers and the companies that employ them for economic development. The report estimates Texas could lose $6.3 billion in personal income, $10.1 billion in annual gross product, and 89,000 jobs over the next five years because of the proposed voting restriction measures.
All of this impacts the tax base of the state and local governments. Not included in the fiscal notes of either bill are the estimates in the report of $832 million in direct losses to state coffers and $454.6 million in direct losses to local governments over the next five years. As for external losses due to reduced tourism and economic development, the state gets hit by $1 billion and local governments get hit by $802.5 million by 2025.
Texas economist Ray Perryman, president and CEO of the Perryman Group, ended a press briefing on the report Friday saying, “While there are many other important advantages
to, and compelling reasons for, encouraging political participation by all eligible citizens, the economic ramifications are substantial and worthy of significant attention as restrictions on voter access are considered.”