Statewide Poll of Chamber members finds broad support for NAFTA and opposition to divisive social legislation

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March 20, 2018
A statewide poll of business leaders shows they think Texas’ economy is on the right track but that public education needs more investment, divisive social debates should be avoided, and that the federal government needs to extend the North American Free Trade Agreement and address immigration reform.
The online poll of 454 chamber members across Texas was conducted between February 9 and 18 by Research+Data Insights, a national polling firm that’s part of Hill+Knowlton Strategies.
Nearly two-thirds of chamber members say the debate about a so-called “bathroom bill” over the last year has had a negative effect on perceptions of Texas’ ability to attract or retain qualified employees. In fact, 44 percent of those who answered the poll said it was “very negative.”
On immigration, 44 percent of chamber members said federal discussions and actions on the issue are negatively affecting their business. Almost half say it has had no impact and 8 percent say it has been positive.
Chamber members said the state should focus its spending on public education, higher education, transportation and workforce development. They also rated transportation and infrastructure as a legislative priority, agreeing that the state should invest more to keep pace with Texas’ growing population and transportation demands.
More than three quarters say NAFTA has helped Texas businesses overall. And 43 percent say it has boosted their business specifically.
“The statewide results of this survey validate what we hear from our business leaders in Dallas,” said Dale Petroskey, president and CEO of the Dallas Regional Chamber. “They want low taxes and reasonable regulations, and they also want investment in our children’s education, and in infrastructure to keep pace with our strong, growing economy.”
“Infrastructure, education and workforce development have long been priorities on our legislative agendas,” said Bill Thornton, president and CEO of the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce. “These findings confirm that those are still well-founded and give us data to help shape our federal and state policy recommendations for addressing these issues.”
“As the survey supported, our members are committed to championing economic and community prosperity,” stated Michael Jacobson, president and CEO of the Arlington Chamber. “Arlington manufacturing, entertainment and health sciences companies have a consistent voice that a world-class education, infrastructure and business environment is required for maintaining our position of economic leadership.”
Full results of the poll are here.
By Scott Braddock
Copyright February 27, 2018, Harvey Kronberg. All rights are reserved