AllianceBernstein, a money management firm given $17.5 million in tax breaks and incentives to relocate its headquarters to Nashville, has already begun to push New York City style policies at the state’s legislature.
The Tennessee Department of Economic & Community Development announced in May of 2018 that AllianceBernstein would its corporate headquarters from Manhattan to Nashville. The move is set to happen in 2020 and is supposed to bring 1,050 jobs to Nashville, but the company is already inserting itself into local politics.
This week, The COO of Alliance Bernstein and several LGBTQ organizations came in opposition to three bills they allege discriminates against LGBTQ individuals.
“AB chose to move to Tennessee because we believe it is a welcoming state that is focused on growing jobs, incomes and the tax base, which will improve lives for all Tennesseans,” AllianceBernstein COO Jim Gingrich said in a statement.
“We believe strongly in the need for continued investments in education, safety, infrastructure for all,” Gingrich said. “The bills being debated in the current session of the legislature send a clear message to certain constituencies that they are not welcome.”
The bills being opposed by AllianceBernstein include a public indecency law, an adoptions law, and protections for a business’ internal discrimination or employment policies.
House Bill 1151 is a bill outlining indecent exposure in a public place and includes language that psychological disorders such as gender dysphoria or gender confusion “will not serve as a defense to the offense of indecent exposure.”
House Bill 1152 protects adoption agencies with religious affiliations from being forced to place children with anyone in conflict with the sincerely held religious beliefs of that agency. In order to qualify for the protection, the agency must issue and display in public a written policy or statement of faith about their practices.
House Bill 0563 protects businesses from municipalities creating policies or ordinances that are discriminatory against a business based on the policies of the business. The areas under protection must be in compliance with state and federal statutes or regulations and include Health insurance policies/coverage, family leave policies, minimum wage policies, and anti-discrimination policies.
The corporate activism and pushback such as that of AllianceBernstein should come as no surprise.
The company’s website prominently displays its “Diversity and Inclusion Strategy,” a list of ‘diversity’ partners and badges from the Human Rights Campaign for CEO activism and for earning a 100% rating three years in a row on the Human Right’s Campaign’s “Corporate Equality Index.”
The Human Rights Campaign has led economic blackmail campaigns in states where religious freedom bills have been introduced. Most notably, the Human Rights Campaign enlisted businesses, politicians, and CEO’s from various companies and to pressure North Carolina over House Bill 2.
The bill, known as HB2, was labeled ‘anti-LGBT’, however, in reality, it restored previous laws and rolled back an ordinance which outlawed gender-specific facilities for all public and private businesses inside the Charlotte city limits. The Human Rights Campaign was instrumental in the creation of that Charlotte ordinance.
Curiously, the city of Charlotte had apparently offered $30 million in incentives and was a runner-up for AllianceBernstein’s new headquarters yet the company chose Nashville.
Media estimated potential revenue losses from HB2 to be over $3 billion, but $500 million seemed to be the most accurate, realistic figure. For perspective, that potential $500 million is around .01% of North Carolina’s annual $510 billion gross domestic product. Contrary to the media reporting at the time, there was a record increase in tourism dollars in all 100 counties in the Tarheel state.
HB2 was eventually repealed by House Bill 142, which has a similarity to Tennessee’s House Bill 0563, in that it placed a moratorium on municipality ordinance creation until December of 2020.
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A.P. Dillon is the North Carolina Bureau Chief for The Tennesee Star and a reporter at Battleground State News. Follow A.P. Dillon on Twitter. Email Tips to APDillon.News@gmail.com.
Photo “John Ragan” by John Ragan. Photo “Jason Zachary” by Jason Zachary. Background Photo “AllianceBernstein” by Alliance Bernstein.