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Texas Republican Culture War Bill: $100 Billion And Climbing

A new analysis shows that laws passed by Texas Republicans will likely cost the state $100 billion in economic activity, and the number will almost certainly grow.

In 2021, Governor Greg Abbott signed a bizarre law that prohibits the state from doing business with companies that “discriminate” against the gun industry. If, say, a financial company has made a vow not to invest in gun manufacturers, then they will not be eligible to bid for Texas state contracts and services. A similar law also protects the fossil fuel industry as more companies try to move their resources into clean energy amidst the ingoing climate crises.

The laws came after a push from wealthy, far-right donors looking to put the squeeze on “woke” companies backing progressive social policies. Unfortunately, this stand against corporate wokeness is adding up quickly.

An analysis from the Perryman Group, a favorite economic impact firm of Texas conservatives, shows that the impact of this law is vast and expensive. The loss of competitive bidding by excluding any company that wants to address gun violence at the source or invest in renewable energy is $821 million in lost gross domestic product annually. Compounded over 30 years, the cost quickly reaches into tens of billions.

“Meaningfully restricted the number of banks participating in the Texas bond market could lead to increased issuance costs in the form of higher net interest rates,” the report says. “This added expense is borne by the taxpayers in the relevant jurisdictions over the life of the securities, thus creating a net leakage from the local expenditure stream.”

Nor is this the only area. Chris Tomlinson at the Houston Chronicle cites data from the Institute for Women’s Policy Research showing Texas’s near-total abortion ban is costing the state $23 billion in economic activity every year. Across the board, states with restrictive abortion laws lose GDP because of pregnant people leaving the workforce unexpectedly, loss of income, rising poverty, and other factors.

“This analysis underscores the incredible harm and destructive power of abortion restrictions—both on women’s lives and entire communities,” the report reads. “The impacts of the restrictions are complicated and multifaceted, yet the solutions are often relatively straightforward. Among other policy options, states should end abortion restrictions and pursue legislative options to protect the right to abortion.”

Finally, the cost of impeding the fight against climate change is almost incalculable. While it’s impossible to determine exactly how much impact Texas refusing to do business with green-minded investment firms has on the overall cause to reduce carbon emissions, but it is definitely not zero.

The state already suffers badly from increased extreme weather brought on by global warming. In 2023 alone droughts and storms cost the state $1 billion, with another $20 billion in losses from droughts alone according to the Texas Farm Bureau. And yet, Texas Republicans seem to think that is a small price to pay for the continued support of a few oil and gas tycoons that determine a large part of the Texas Republican primary outcome. 

Jef Rouner
Jef Rouner
Jef Rouner is an award-winning freelance journalist, the author of The Rook Circle, and a member of The Black Math Experiment. He lives in Houston where he spends most of his time investigating corruption and strange happenings. Jef has written for Houston Press, Free Press Houston, and Houston Chronicle.


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