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Gov. Abbott: Stances on abortion, elections are ‘accelerating’ business relocations to Texas

This story, originally published in The Dallas Morning News, is reprinted as part of a collaborative partnership between The Dallas Morning News and Texas Metro News. The partnership seeks to boost coverage of Dallas’ communities of color, particularly in southern Dallas.

Gov. Abbott: Stances on abortion, elections are ‘accelerating’ business relocations to Texas
Gov. Greg Abbott
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott says he’s not worried about investment and donation dollars leaving Texas due to the states’ controversial abortion and voting legislation.(Brandon Wade / Special Contributor)

By Natalie Walters

Texas has taken controversial stances on two big topics this week: abortion and elections. But Texas Gov. Greg Abbott defended both on CNBC on Thursday, claiming Texas’ stance would bring in more business rather than scaring companies away.

“People vote with their feet, and this is not slowing down businesses coming to the state of Texas at all. In fact, it is accelerating the process of businesses coming to Texas,” he said on CNBC’s Squawk on the Street.

Late Wednesday, the Supreme Court in a 5-4 vote denied an emergency request to block Texas’ new abortion law, also known as the “Heartbeat Act,” from taking effect. It’s the most restrictive abortion measure in the country, banning abortions after about six weeks of pregnancy.

The law could deter about two-thirds of college-educated workers from coming to the state, according to a new PerryUndem survey.

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Abbott argued that more people are moving to Texas than any other state and said companies are attracted by the state’s business climate, which he touted for having low regulation and a constitutional ban on income tax.

Abbott brought up the well-documented increase in businesses leaving the liberal state of California to come to Texas. He said Tesla CEO Elon Musk “had to get out of California because in part of the social policies in California, and Elon consistently tells me that he likes the social policies in the state of Texas.”

Musk tweeted about the comment not long after the interview ended.

“In general, I believe government should rarely impose its will upon the people, and, when doing so, should aspire to maximize their cumulative happiness,” the billionaire wrote. “That said, I would prefer to stay out of politics.”

Tesla is building a sprawling factory in Austin where its Cybertruck pickup will be made. Musk’s SpaceX also is expanding its space launch facilities in South Texas and tests rocket engines in McGregor.

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The governor also told CNBC he plans to sign into law the Election Integrity legislation that bans drive-through voting and threatens election officials with new criminal penalties. It was passed by the Republican-led Legislature on Tuesday. Opponents say it disenfranchises Black, Latino and disabled voters.

Abbott insisted the new law will make it easier to vote than before.

“If people look at the facts, they realize, wait a second, Texas really is a well-governed state,” he said.

When asked if the combination of Texas’ controversial abortion and election policies may deter investment and donation dollars from the state, Abbott said he’s not worried.

“You need to understand that there’s a lot of businesses and a lot of Americans who like the social positions that the state of Texas is taking,” he said.

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