Protesters on life and election during a protest in front of the US Supreme Court in Washington, DC, Tuesday, May 3, 2022.
Al Drago | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Beyond the moral debate over state bans or restrictions on abortion, critics say there is an economic argument against it at a time when workers are in short supply.
“The diverse workforce is so important to the company’s success, and you’re trying to hire women to come and work for your company,” said Florida State Secretary Anna Escamani. “And they look at the landscape of health outcomes and access to reproductive health care.”
Escamani, a Democrat, had a place in the ring of a different cultural war taking place in her Orlando neighborhood: the clash between Disney and governor of Florida. Ron DeSantis over the state Parental rights in the Education Act restricting the teaching of sexual orientation and gender identity, which critics call the “Don’t Say Gay” law.
After Disney CEO Bob Chapek – under pressure from employees – condemn the law and promised to work for its repeal, DeSantis passed a law through the state legislature cancel the Disney Special Tax Area at its Florida theme park.
“This state is governed by the best interests of the people of the state, not by some awakened corporation,” said DeSantis, a Republican at the April 22 signing ceremony.
Now Disney has announced that it will postpone the relocation of 2,000 employees of California’s Imagineering division to a new campus on Lake Nona by 2026. The relocation was due to begin this year. The company intends to raise $ 578 million in government tax credits for the move. Under Florida law, a company cannot collect loans until it creates jobs.
Disney did not respond to emails from CNBC, but a spokesman said Orlando Sentinel that the delay had nothing to do with the DeSantis dispute.
Escamani does not believe. She called it a “fine” way for Disney to repel, and said it happens when politicians wage cultural wars.
“This has an economically exciting effect when companies trying to attract the best talent realize that they can’t do it in a country that doesn’t welcome diverse people,” she said.
DeSantis Deputy Spokesman Brian Griffin said the company had not contacted the governor’s office for the delay, so he would not speculate on the reason. But he said the state was doing well.
“Today, our country leads the country in both internal migration and wealth migration,” Griffin said in an email. “Tourism and leisure are key sectors of Florida’s diverse economy, and business is booming.”
And, Griffin noted, Disney is not the only game in town.
“Disney is a major employer in central Florida, with tens of thousands of employees in the area, but it’s not the only big company or industry in Florida,” he said.
Fr. The Leadership Project Nowa group of business leaders and scientists urging corporations to tackle threats to democracy, CEO and co-founder Daniela Balu-Aares worries that the DeSantis-Disney dispute in Florida and the looming battle between some states and corporations over abortion mean a growing a problem that is more common in emerging markets than in this country: the risk of retaliation from an unstable government.
“Fortunately, the United States is seen as a very low-risk environment where you don’t have to prepare for these things,” she said. “Unfortunately, what we are seeing now is that the United States is becoming an environment of higher political risk. This is terrible for the international capital flowing to this country.”
Large companies and business organizations in general have he was silent before the Supreme Court’s decision on abortion, although some including Apple and Amazon they said they would pay the travel expenses of their employees if they have to travel outside the state for reproductive health services.
But even that has angered some Republicans. Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida has introduced a bill that prohibits employers from deducting expenses related to abortions, employee travel, or gender-sensitive health care for transgender children.
“Our tax code must benefit the family and promote a culture of life,” Rubio said in a statement. statement.
Balu-Aares said the companies were left between a rock and an anvil.
“Executive directors are now in this precarious position, with the political system criticizing them for doing anything and asking their employees and communities to do more.
Many managers are on the side of their workers, at least for now. Even when some politicians mock them as “awake”.
In the last quarterly study of CNBC CFO Board50% of respondents agreed that it is important for their company to do business in a country where the laws are open and inclusive. Only 35% disagree.
In the same study, half of the respondents said that if Roe v. Wade has been repealed, and restrictions on state abortions would have at least some impact on their location decisions. Only 20% said they would not.
CNBC The best American states for business the study will again look at inclusion among our indicators, as we have done every year since 2015, looking at factors such as anti-discrimination protection and voting rights. But because abortion laws – and business attitudes – have changed so much during our study, they are not a factor in this year’s rankings.
What does the future hold?
A long-time critic of business subsidies believes that the alleged rift between business leaders and traditionally business-minded politicians will end when the public inevitably gets tired of it. Greg Leroy of the nonprofit group Good Jobs First said it was a familiar pattern last seen in the corporate protest against new voting laws in Texas and Florida.
“Some companies have given signals or stopped giving money [to politicians]but then they calmed down as the headlines faded, “he said.” After a decent interval, when people are no longer looking, companies want influence in the state and state legislatures and immediately return to political donations and receiving great services in terms of great tax breaks and big packages of incentives. “
The CNBC report on the best business states in America for 2022 – our 15you year – comes July 13.