Chicago is taking aim at Texas’ new social policies with a full-page ad in Sunday’s Dallas Morning News, urging companies uncomfortable with the state’s recently enacted abortion and voting laws to head to the windy city.
World Business Chicago, the city’s public-private economic development arm, purchased the print ad, which opens with “Dear Texas” before jumping into reasons companies should consider moving north. It cites the Midwest city’s startup ecosystem, attraction of tech and engineering graduates and a top-ranked logistics and transportation sector as strengths.
Then it hones in on what it perceives as Texas’ new weakness.
“In Chicago, we believe in every person’s right to vote, protecting reproductive rights and science to fight COVID-19,″ the ad states.
“We believe that the values of the city you are doing business in matters more than ever before,” World Business Chicago CEO Michael Fassnacht told Bloomberg News Friday.
The Lone Star State made headlines after enacting the strictest anti-abortion legislation in the country and an elections overhaul that adds voting restrictions.
Gov. Greg Abbott defended the controversial legislation in an appearance on CNBC, saying it will attract even more business growth in Texas. The state is currently out-competing rivals in the race for California company relocations.
Texas-based companies have been relatively silent regarding the abortion law, known as the Heartbeat Act, which essentially bans abortions after six weeks. Dallas-based Match Group and Austin-based Bumble, both dating app companies, are among the few to publicly denounce it.
Despite the lack of corporate upheaval, Chicago’s public attempt at nabbing frustrated Texas businesses could signal worries held by some experts that the new policies could prove detrimental to the state’s growing economy.
“Laws that are less inclusive, whether they make voting more difficult, limit opportunities based on gender or gender identity, restrict access to health care for indigent persons or unreasonably limit flexibility in family planning pose substantial risk to the Texas economy over an extended period,” said Texas economist Ray Perryman.
Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont also publicly touted business opportunities in his state Friday.
“We don’t have oil and natural gas, but we have one of the most productive, best trained, most innovative workforces in the world,” he said, without naming Texas outright.
Though the full implications of the new laws are yet to be seen, Texas does one-up Connecticut and Illinois with welcoming tax policies. The state doesn’t have personal or corporate income taxes, qualities that businesses often favor.