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On Thursday, June 6th, Unlocking America’s Future held a press briefing with Houston Controller Chris Hollins, pollster Nancy Zdunkewicz of Z to A Research, Dr. Ray Perryman of The Perryman Group, and Cliff Walker of Seeker Strategies to share takeaways from new polling and research around Texas’ anti-ESG laws SB13 and SB19. 

The press briefing rounded out the first phase of Unlocking America’s Future’s new campaign in Texas, which aims to educate Texans and the nation about how these extreme anti-ESG policies are undoing the “Texas Miracle.” The campaign kickstarted in May with a six-figure ad buy and new polling and research, followed by a report on the economic consequences of the Texas laws by The Perryman Group. 

“Unlocking America’s Future aims to set the record straight on the consequences of these extreme positions and pay-for-play schemes, and make clear that Texas should serve as a warning for states across America,” said Kyle Herrig, spokesperson of Unlocking America’s Future. 

On the impacts of SB13 and SB19 on the municipal level, Houston Controller Chris Hollins said: “I have a job I take very seriously, being the taxpayer watchdog for the fourth largest city in the country. A handful of politicians in Austin love sending mandates to local officials on how we should do our jobs. Our financial standing has been put in jeopardy by a few people at the state capitol. But this issue impacts more than just the banks – it impacts real people, like retirees relying on a pension fund, and it hurts our ability to get projects funded at the lowest cost.”

According to The Perryman Group’s report, policies that restrict investment options of state pension funds, like the laws in Texas, would not only be bad for business, but could significantly burden taxpayers and threaten retiree’s financial security. 

“All of this translates into a loss of about $800 million in economic activity and 8,000 jobs year after year after year,” said Dr. Ray Perryman, president and CEO of The Perryman Group. “We have a lot of retirees and potential public sector retirees in Texas. Those pension funds will support these public servants as they enter into retirement. You’re not gonna make as much money if you take away some of the core areas in which people are gonna invest.”

The report’s findings substantiate new polling data from Unlocking America’s Future and Z to A Research, which revealed 83% of Texans say it is not the role of government to tell private financial institutions how to invest their customers’ money. In addition, 72% of Texas voters believe leaders in Texas have become less focused on fixing real problems and more focused on pushing an extreme conservative agenda.

“People continue to be very sensitive to cost,” said Nancy Zdunkewicz, founder of Z to A Research. “And in Texas, we especially see this with property taxes. People were really frustrated – normal people are not calling for ESG bans, and when they hear about it, they’re not saying it’s one of their priorities.” 

“You can quantify in dollars and cents the harms done by these extreme policies,” said Cliff Walker, co-founder of Seeker Strategies. “It’s all fun and games to get clout on cable TV or a tweet that goes viral, but at the end of the day there are people whose jobs are affected and who find themselves having financial difficulties, and it ultimately costs taxpayers and retirees.” 

Learn more about the impacts of Texas anti-ESG laws and Unlocking America’s Future’s campaign: