State Rep. Byron Cook Exclusive: Gov. Abbott Should Take Bathroom Bill “Off the Table”

“Business, universally, does not like this type of legislation.”

Texas Insider Report: AUSTIN, Texas — “I continue to believe that if Gov. Abbott, who is our most popular elected official, would just make a statement that we’re taking this (bathroom bill) issue off the table, say its not going to happen on my watch and we’re going to go about our business, then we would give business the certainty they’re looking for in a location,” said Byron Cook, chairman of the Texas Select Committee on Economic Competitiveness in an exclusive interview immediately after gaveling the Committee’s final hearing to a close.

“When I look at the RFP for Amazon’s second headquarters, when I look at Amazon’s mission, where Texas might be a state that has a finalist city or two, in the end, unless the state withdraws bathroom legislation from its legislative agenda, I don’t think we’ll be chosen,” Cook tells Texas Insider’s Jim Cardle.

“The one thing businesses don’t like, that industry doesn’t like, is uncertainty. So, as long as this cloud hangs over us and they’re not certain what Texas is going to do, then its not likely that Amazon or any other major, significant company like them is going to step forward (and move to Texas,)” said Cook, who also chairs the House’s powerful State Affairs Committee.

“Business, universally, does not like this type of legislation.”

“And by the way, if you look at North Carolina when they enacted similar legislation, everything kind of came to a standstill. In fact, Forbes just came out and said that during the course of that legislation, it cost the state of North Carolina a half a billion dollars.

“Now North Carolina rescinded that legislation,” said Cook, “and they went back up to the top location (of the states considered most attractive to business.) That was because they removed what is considered to be punitive, discriminatory, non-productive legislation.

“And I’ll tell you, one of the big drivers of that, I think, was Duke basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski. He had one of the top teams in last year’s NCAA Final 8 games, and Duke was supposed to play a home game because they were seeded higher. But, they had to go to South Carolina to play (because of North Carolina’s Bathroom Bill,) and guess who ends up in the Final 4… South Carolina.

“Afterwards, he said publicly that he blamed part of the loss on losing his home court advantage,” said Cook.

“So we heard from some of the brightest corporate executives this state has to offer, and they will all tell you that if Texas is going to continue to land the major business opportunities, we have to have incentives. Remember, we’re competing with every state in the nation, and most have major business incentives packages.

“Business is going to go where they have the greatest opportunity. If no other state offered incentives, then that’d be a different situation. But they’re looking at ‘where can we get the most productive workers, at the least amount of cost.’ These are things we have to deal with,” noted Cook.

“And by the way, when these jobs come in, they’re high-paying jobs that afford a great quality of life for our younger generations. So we have to have these tools.

“We heard (in these hearings) that Texas has laid a good, historical foundation for businesses to want to be here, and that’s the good news. But the reality of the fact is, we have a challenge because there are threats to us continuing to have that dominant position.

“They’re all things we can address, but we’re going to need to address them,” said Cook.

Cook said the the House Select Committee on Economic Competitiveness will release its recommendations report on December 12, 2017.

Source: Texas Politics

State Rep. Byron Cook Exclusive: Gov. Abbott Should Take Bathroom Bill “Off the Table”

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