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Texas economist says voting legislation could cost state jobs, economic growth

One of Texas’ top economist has weighed in on GOP efforts to restrict voting access, saying that, if passed, the legislation, would have “substantial negative economic consequences.”

Earlier, American Airlines and Dell Inc. founder Michael Dell, criticized the legislation that that would reduce options to cast ballots and limit polling hours.

Ray Perryman

“Laws which restrict voter access can have substantial negative economic consequences due to lost earnings and related reductions in consumer spending. In addition, irrespective of their stated purpose, controversial laws can also lead to reductions in travel and tourism and economic development,” the Perryman Group said in a statement.

The Perryman Group implemented an extensive modeling process to measure economic effects of restricting voter access stemming from several primary sources and found that hundreds of thousands of Texas jobs are at stake.

Access to voting improves earnings, consumer spending, tourism, and economic development, according to the report.

On the other hand, laws which restrict access or have the appearance of discrimination can lead to substantial economic and fiscal losses over time, the company said.

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.

The Perryman Group estimates the proposed voter measures would lead to a total decrease in business activity from lower earnings and employment losses and reduced household purchasing power by 2025 of $14.7 billion in annual gross product and a loss of more than 73,000 jobs.

American Airlines, which is based in Fort Worth, came out against restrictive voting measures that have a favorable path to reaching Republican Gov. Greg Abbott’s desk in the coming weeks.

Public opposition from the airline came after a package of sweeping elections changes cleared the GOP-controlled Senate and shortly after some of Georgia’s most prominent corporate leaders came out publicly against a new election law after civil rights activists criticized their silence.

“To make American’s stance clear: We are strongly opposed to this bill and others like it,” the airline said in a statement.

To see an Editorial on the proposed legislation, click here.

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Robert Francis
Robert is a Fort Worth native and longtime editor of the Fort Worth Business Press. He is a former president of the local Society of Professional Journalists and was a freelancer for a variety of newspapers, weeklies and magazines, including American Way, BrandWeek and InformatonWeek. A graduate of TCU, Robert has held a variety of writing and editing positions at publications such as the Grand Prairie Daily News and InfoWorld. He is also a musician and playwright.

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