Facts Showing the Economic Damage Mike Pence’s RFRA Brought to Indiana

GOP Chairman on RFRA: “If there’s damage in any way, I don’t see it in the facts.”

INDIANAPOLIS – Indiana Republican Party Chairman Jeff Cardwell yesterday said he didn’t see any facts that showed the economic damage Mike Pence’s RFRA brought to Indiana.

We disagree.

At the 11:40 marker, Indiana GOP Chairman Jeff Cardwell on RFRA – “If there’s damage in any way, I don’t see it in the facts.”

“Republicans must truly believe that if they say ‘everything is alright’ enough, Mike Pence’s RFRA problem will go away. Not only did RFRA bring a $250 million economic panic across the state, but Indianapolis’s tourism agency lost $60 million, twelve conventions, and had to fight to repair the state’s damaged ‘Hoosier Hospitality’ image,” said Drew Anderson, communications director. “Over 475 Hoosiers businesses and 70-percent of Hoosiers called for across the board protections for LGBT Hoosiers – and yet, Mike Pence and Republicans ignored the issue. Republicans cannot ignore this problem because Hoosiers know the facts about the embarrassment Mike Pence’s rigid ideology brought to the state of Indiana.”
BACKGROUND INFO: FACTS ABOUT ECONOMIC DAMAGE CAUSED BY MIKE PENCE’S RFRA

Indiana experienced an estimated $256 million economic panic following RFRA. “Major businesses boycotting a new religious freedom law in Indiana could cost the state’s economy some $256.4 million and counting over the next six years, according to the Center for American Progress. The so-called Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which Republican Indiana Gov. Mike Pence signed into law last week, is widely viewed by opponents as granting business owners a license to discriminate against the LGBT community.” [International Business Times, 4.1.15]

Official: RFRA cost Indy up to 12 conventions and $60M. “The furor surrounding last year’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act might have cost the city of Indianapolis as many as 12 conventions and up to $60 million in economic impact, the city’s nonprofit tourism arm confirmed Monday evening. Though they come with some caveats, the numbers from Visit Indy represent the most tangible effects yet of a controversy that city officials and business leaders long warned would cause real damage to Indianapolis’ reputation.” [IndyStar, 1.26.16]

Poll shows perception problem continues for Indy, nearly one year after RFRA. “According to a Visit Indy poll, conducted by Reach Market Planning & Walker Research, tourists think that think Indy still has a long way to go following the religious freedom fallout from 2015. […] When meeting decision makers were asked if Indy in fact does “Welcome All,” only 45 percent agreed. That number was even less, 43 percent for Chicago residents. The numbers were even lower when that same question applied to the state, with 28percent of meeting decision makers agreeing with the statement that “Indiana Welcomes All,” and 38percent of Chicago residents agreeing with the same statement. [Fox 59, 1.20.16]

Indiana Chamber of Commerce said Indiana and businesses “clearly suffered damage” from RFRA. “The Indiana Chamber of Commerce says the state and its businesses “clearly suffered damage” from the RFRA controversy, but the wounds appear to be healing with time. ‘We got about 600 e-mails and phone calls and letters in the two to three week period after the law was passed,’ chamber president Kevin Brinegar told WTHR.  ‘The Monday after the bill was signed I got a call from a business owner in northern Indiana. He said he lost his biggest out-of-state customer because of the bill that was signed, and he was in tears. Some businesses clearly did feel the impact.  But once the so-called fix was enacted by the legislature, those types of communications really dissipated down to a trickle … I’m not aware that we’ve received any for months.’” [WTHR, 9.17.15]

475+ Hoosier Businesses to General Assembly: Indiana Still Needs LGBT Protections This Year. “Today, the 475 businesses that make up Indiana Competes hand-delivered a letter to every single member of the General Assembly, underscoring the urgent need for lawmakers to act this year to secure statewide LGBT non-discrimination protections. Despite the failure of SB 344 to move forward earlier this month, businesses know that Indiana’s economy needs a law protecting everyone from discrimination—and with session not ending until March 14th, there is still ample time for lawmakers to pass meaningful non-discrimination legislation.” [Indiana Competes, 2.15.16]

70% of Hoosiers support LGBT protections. “A new IndyStar poll, conducted with Ball State University, shows Hoosiers support expanding the state civil rights law to include sexual orientation and gender identity, with 50.2 percent in favor and 35.1 percent opposed. Support jumped to about 70 percent when questions were not framed around the term “civil rights,” but instead broke down the specific protections that would be provided to gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people under a bill pending in the Indiana General Assembly. The proposal applies to housing, employment, retail businesses and public services.” [IndyStar, 12.17.15]

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