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Texans tired of the state's culture war receive relocation invitations

Texas opened the door to possible corporate departures – and would-be suitors seem only too pleased to roll out some welcome mats.
Image: Pedestrians pass in front of the Salesforce Tower in New York on  May 30, 2019.
Pedestrians pass in front of the Salesforce Tower in New York on May 30, 2019.Victor J. Blue / Bloomberg via Getty Images

For far-right Republicans, Texas has racked up a series of extraordinary victories in recent months. For example, with the Supreme Court's blessing, Roe v. Wade protections have effectively been eliminated in the Lone Star State. GOP policymakers have made it far more difficult to cast a ballot in Texas elections.

Though it didn't generate as many national headlines, let's also not forget that a new law took effect in Texas last week, allowing any gun owner to carry a handgun – in public – without a permit, license, or safety training. It was around the same time that Republican Gov. Greg Abbott banned "critical race theory," imposed new restrictions on public demonstrations, and banned requirements on mask protections during the pandemic.

The Washington Post's Dana Milbank recently argued, "Texas this week showed us what a post-democracy America would look like."

But while far-right Republicans have had reason to celebrate Texas' many regressive steps, not everyone in the Lone Star State is pleased – and some may be thinking about leaving the state altogether. It's against this backdrop that CNBC had an interesting report late last week:

Salesforce told thousands of employees in a Slack message on Friday that if they and their families are concerned about the ability to access reproductive care in the wake of Texas' aggressive anti-abortion law, the company will help them relocate.

In a message to employees, the company, which did not formally take a position on the state's abortion ban, told employees, "These are incredibly personal issues that directly impact many of us — especially women. We recognize and respect that we all have deeply held and different perspectives. As a company, we stand with all of our women at Salesforce and everywhere."

The Salesforce message added, "[I]f you have concerns about access to reproductive healthcare in your state, Salesforce will help relocate you and members of your immediate family."

Time will tell how many employees take advantage of the offer – the company reportedly has thousands of workers based in Texas – but the Salesforce story is part of a larger picture.

The Chicago Tribune reported, for example, that World Business Chicago, the public-private operation that serves as the city's economic development arm, took out a full-page ad in yesterday's Dallas Morning News, "inviting corporations to head north for the warm business climate and stay for the more liberal abortion and voting laws — a swipe at restrictive legislation [Texas] passed on both fronts in recent months."

Among the stated reasons businesses should relocate to Chicago: The city believes in "science to fight COVID-19."

This morning, former Gov. Terry McAuliffe, Virginia's Democratic 2021 gubernatorial nominee, added, "My message to companies like Salesforce is clear: come to Virginia – where we remain open and welcoming, and opposed to dangerous abortion bans that put women's health and lives at risk – all of which Glenn Youngkin would enact as governor."

It's difficult to even guess whether we'll see departures from Texas in any significant numbers, but the state's Republican leaders have certainly opened the door to departures – and would-be suitors seem only too pleased to roll out some welcome mats.