TAB: Just Another Liberal Lobby Group

One prominent Austin lobby group has been in the tank for bigger government for a long time, but their vanity is now taking them even deeper down the drain.

In a recent lobbying push, the state’s ostensibly pro-business lobby group, the Texas Association of Business, is arguing that if Texas doesn’t capitulate to a left-wing social agenda the state will lose billions of dollars.

So what is the “business lobby” lobbying for? Tax relief? Regulatory reform? Free markets?

Those would be good guesses ­if the group actually stuck to the principles it claims to support, but sadly that’s not the case. Instead, TAB is arguing that if Texas doesn’t let men into women’s locker rooms and showers that tourism in the state will crumble and sporting events will be cancelled.

TAB points toward the 2017 Super Bowl as an example of an event that could have been lost if the state were to pass a bill protecting Texas women. However, that argument falls on its face when one considers that intense pressure was put on the NFL to move the Super Bowl out of Houston after voters rejected Mayor Annise Parker’s ordinance, yet the NFL resisted the cries from the extremist on the left.

The issue has risen to prominence in Texas due to a number of factors including the failure of religious liberty legislation last session and the passage of “equal rights” and “non-discrimination” ordinances across the nation in which cities have granted themselves the authority to determine bathroom policies for private businesses.

So far only two groups have been successful in stopping the implementation of such policies: the voters of Houston, who defeated an ordinance at the ballot box, and the North Carolina legislature, which passed a law invalidating local bathroom edicts earlier this year.

Many prominent Texas lawmakers such as Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick have been advocating for the passage of a similar law here in the Lone Star State.

To fight the law, TAB is throwing everything at him.

They’ve partnered with the LGBT lobby to set up an AstroTurf campaign called “Keep Texas Open” that conjures economic doomsday scenarios and labels opponents as “discriminators.”

Recently they held a press conference on the steps of the Texas Capitol with Democrat State Reps. Celia Israel and Donna Howard of Austin, both of whom have strong anti-business records of supporting minimum wage increases, carbon taxes, and business tax hikes.

TAB’s political tantrum isn’t exactly a surprise. Despite the window dressing, TAB is no longer a “pro-business organization,” it’s just a liberal one.

Though it was once an ally that worked with conservatives on free-market priorities like tort reform, tax relief, and regulatory repeal, TAB has been going down the drain for some time. And while the organization boldly touts itself as the leading voice for business it often abandons their interests to instead support liberal policy initiatives.

Recently TAB abandoned the alliance of business groups pushing to end the automatic collection of union dues from government employees. They’ve also made headlines supporting in-state tuition for illegal immigrants, even going as far as to say that illegal immigrants deserve the taxpayer subsidy more than law-abiding Texas citizens.

The group has said they would like to see the Democrats be more competitive in Texas. Indeed, in 2014, when asked whether TAB would endorse Dan Patrick over Leticia Van de Putte for lieutenant governor, TAB President Bill Hammond criticized Patrick but said he “just [didn’t] think it was time” to back the liberal Democrat.

Texas business owners who want their voice heard in state government must get involved themselves. The group that says they exist to represent Texas businesses promotes the interests of radical left-wing causes instead.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Cary Cheshire leads the Capitol Bureau for Empower Texans & Texas Scorecard. A 6th Generation Texan, Cary attended Texas A&M University was active in a number of conservative causes including Ted Cruz's Senate campaign. He has also worked on campaigns to elect conservatives to both Congress and the Texas Legislature. Cary enjoys college football, genealogy research, and the occasional craft beer.

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