As Texans head to the polls for tomorrow's primary elections, the state's largest Chambers of Commerce and the businesses who make up their membership are urging voters to support candidates who ditch social issues in favor of basic needs like schools and infrastructure, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.
San Antonio Chamber President Richard Perez says the fast majority of Texas business owners and CEOs say the focus on social issues has detracted from the state's strong business climate.
"The 'bathroom bill' was nowhere to be found in that dialogue," Perez said. "In fact, people said we need to avoid that, and stress investments in education and infrastructure in a very real way."
The survey covered the Chambers of Commerce in Arlington, Corpus Christi, Dallas, Ft. Worth, and San Antonio.
The results demonstrate a growing rift in the Texas Republican Party between traditional fiscal and pro business conservatives who support standard Republican themes like lower taxes and less regulation, with the rising social or 'movement' Republicans who now dominate the Texas Senate and are becoming more common statewide. They fight for social issues like reducing abortion, pushing a ban on 'Sanctuary Cities,' and for a bill limiting transgender bathroom use.
In fact, as the Chambers push hard against social issues, several non binding 'issues' on the Republican primary ballot seek to gauge support for eliminating abortion, supporting school choice, and for 'protecting the privacy of women and children in public and school restrooms.'
Perez says focus on those issues has taken away from the key issues facing the state's businesses.
"We want to elect individuals who are focused on a pro growth agenda," he said. "That is not focused on bathrooms and is not focused on taking away local control."
Other interesting proposals from the business groups: "Most back public private partnerships and toll roads to improve infrastructure."
"Nearly a third support the state spending more on public education and infrastructure, even if it means a small tax increase on their business."
"Nearly two thirds say the 'bathroom bill' discussion in the last Legislative session had a negative effect on perceptions of Texas' ability to attract or retain qualified employees for its businesses. 44% say it has had a 'very' negative effect."
"More than three quarters of businesses said AFTA has helped Texas businesses overall, and 43% said it has boosted their business specifically."