Mike Pence’s RFRA Puts Future Final Fours at Risk, State Economy Could Lose Millions More

IndyStar: NCAA vote: No Final Fours in cities without anti-discrimination [state] laws

RFRA’s long-term effects continue to hurt state economy, damage state’s “Hoosier Hospitality” reputation 

INDIANAPOLIS – Mike Pence’s discriminatory policies continue to damage Indiana’s economy by driving economic opportunities away from the state. Just this week, the NCAA – which is headquartered in Indianapolis – announced the organization will no longer hold its coveted Final Four basketball tournament in states that do not have anti-discrimination policies.

Indianapolis is scheduled to hold its next Final Four in 2021 – and now because Mike Pence refused to act and sign a bill to provide protections for LGBT Hoosiers – Indiana is at risk of losing an estimated $71 million to its economy.

“Contrary to what Mike Pence says, RFRA continues to undermine Indiana’s economic future. Hoosiers have seen a governor who under no circumstances would put his ideology aside for the overall well-being of his state. And now, it could cost Indianapolis future Final Fours and millions in lost revenue,” said Drew Anderson, communications director. “Mike Pence can deny the negative impact of is policies all he wants, but the fact is, the governor is costing Indiana jobs, investments, and economic opportunities.”

Last December, Mike Pence believed he “calmed the waters” after he decided to prioritize his political agenda ahead of the economic well-being of the state. And further, Republicans – including Indiana Republican Party Chairman Jeff Cardwell – said they don’t see RFRA’s damage “in the facts.”

A $250 million statewide economic panic, Indianapolis losing 12 conventions and $60 million, and a damaged reputation are facts that should alarm Hoosiers. The damage by Mike Pence’s RFRA isn’t over – in fact, it only continues.
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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