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Last week, Andrew Behar, CEO of As You Sow, appeared in front of the House Judiciary Committee, where he defended responsible investing after the House Judiciary Committee subpoenaed the pro-corporate responsibility group. After the hearing, Behar appeared on Democracy Now where he made the case for responsible investing and why the committee members were wrong

Behar pointed out the significant financial difficulties facing states where anti-responsible investing laws have been passed, saying, “So, what it’s done so far is lead to their pension funds underperforming, which is impacting the ability to retire for firefighters, teachers, policemen across these states. It’s also, according to the Texas State Chamber of Commerce, which includes Exxon and Chevron — they just put out a report saying that the Texas bill cost the state $600 million and lost them 3,000 jobs.

Texas is home to some of the most anti-responsible investing policies in the country, with draconian legislation that is harming the economy, young people, and retirees.

“What we’re saying is, ‘We need the freedom to invest,’” Behar continued. “Like, they’re trying to suppress our freedom to be able to make logical, good business choices. And in doing so, at the state level, they’re harming their own citizens.” 

The truth is, attacks against ESG harm the economy and the well-being of everyday Americans. 

Research has consistently shown that attacks on responsible investing endanger our financial well-being, especially in the form of higher taxes and lower returns on retirement savings.  

  • The Kansas State Division of the Budget projected reduced returns of $3.6 billion over 10 years for the Kansas Public Retirement System if anti-ESG investment restrictions were adopted. 
  • The Arkansas Public Employees Retirement System estimated they could lose $30-40 million each year due to an anti-ESG bill requiring public divestiture from institutions using ESG-related metrics. 
  • The Oklahoma Public Employees Retirement System could face $9.7 million in taxes, fees, and commission costs if it is forced to divest from institutions who use ESG criteria like BlackRock and Wells Fargo because of anti-ESG legislation. 
  • Taxpayers in six states — Kentucky, Florida, Louisiana, Oklahoma, West Virginia and Missouri — could be on the hook for up to $700 million in excess interest payments if restrictions on sustainable investing are implemented.

Watch Behar’s full appearance here.