The Anti-Business (Tea) Party

Richard Parker argues that the Tea Partisans are actually creating a poor climate for big business in Texas by wanting to secure a religious path to discrimination and by trying to keep undocumented kids poor and ignorant.

Welcome to Texas, Toyota, and all the accountants, lawyers, contractors and other companies — big and small — that are making the long trek to relocate here.

You will find Texas to be immensely friendly. We’re especially friendly to business, which is why you’re coming, of course. Hence, the outlook for Texas is bullish: It’s on track to supplant Germany as the world’s fourth-largest economy by 2050. Texas is so friendly to business that even Democrats stress the word pro-business before mumbling the word Democrat.

But there’s something the eager chambers of commerce and glad-handing mayors probably didn’t tell you before you made up your mind to come to Texas. There’s a political party emerging in Austin the likes of which we’ve never seen.

Until recently known as the tea party, it’s the Anti-Business Party of Texas, and it’s about to open the door to a future of uncertainty that will affect your workers, worry your shareholders and befuddle your customers.

If you saw the uproar from businesses — from Apple to American Airlines — in Indiana over a so-called religious freedom act, then brace yourself, because Texas could be next.

Two measures in the Legislature would unravel a law that seems to have worked well since 1999. State Sen. Donna Campbell and Rep. Matt Krause, both of the Anti-Business Party, propose to bar state or local governments from enforcing anti-discrimination laws in the event of a religious claim. They even want to enshrine the ban in the Texas Constitution. This would effectively gut anti-discrimination protections, particularly for gay people, in most cities.

Campbell also is effectively trying to deny an affordable college education to the children of unauthorized immigrants.

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