Megan Barry: anti-LGBT legislation ‘doesn’t reflect Nashville’s values’

Nashville Mayor Megan Barry released a statement warning Tennessee lawmakers that the city and state economies will suffer if anti-LGBT legislation passes.

Nearly $58 million are at risk from just convention planners the city has identified that have already, or are likely to, take their business to a state they find friendlier to LGBT citizens. At the state level, it would amount to a loss of $4.5 million in taxes. The city stands to lose $5.8 million.

Should the bills become law, and national attention is brought to the state, the actual impact is likely to be far greater than these estimates.

Mayor Barry released the statement regarding specifically the anti-transgender bathroom bill, which passed the House Education Administration & Planning Committee — after it was resurrected by lawmakers who'd originally sent it to summer study — as well as the counseling discrimination bill that passed the House this week (after passing in the Senate last year) and is on its way to Governor Haslam for his signature.

Read the mayor’s statement here:

This legislation doesn’t reflect Nashville’s values and doesn’t do anything to improve the quality of life for citizens of our city or state. If some lawmakers don’t see the value in recognizing people’s dignity and privacy, I hope they can at least see the negative economic impact and potential loss of revenue to Nashville and the State of Tennessee. We’ve seen the negative effects that similar laws in North Carolina have had on their economy, and we’ve already received indications that conventions might pull out of Nashville or eliminate our city from consideration should HB2414/SB2387 become law – resulting in a potential loss of over $10 million in state and local tax revenue and nearly $58 million in direct visitor spending removed from our economy.

That is the loss of economic activity in just one sector of our city’s economy. Our future ability to attract film and television production will also be impacted, and we could expect to see other industry sectors impacted, as well. That’s quite a price to pay for legislation that would seem to hurt people – including some of our youngest and our most vulnerable – without actually benefitting anyone in the process. Instead of creating complex and confusing regulations for restrooms, or becoming the only state in the nation to allow discrimination by counseling professionals, the state should work with local governments to continue our economic growth, address traffic problems, and give our schools the resources and support they need to be successful.



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