Gov. Nathan Deal and legislative Republicans are seeking a compromise on a controversial religious freedom bill that would satisfy both conservative voters in an election year and corporate leaders worried about losing business.
If they fail to find middle ground and legislation widely criticized as discriminatory becomes law, business groups are warning the fallout from a convention and tourism boycott of Georgia and losses from companies moving out of the state or choosing to locate elsewhere could reach $2 billion.
Those projected losses include $450 million in direct spending per year during the next four years and a $50 million annual reduction in state and local tax revenues during the same period, according to figures compiled by the Atlanta Convention & Visitors Bureau.“The ACVB numbers are real. In fact, they’re on the conservative side,” said Karen Bremer, executive director of the Georgia Restaurant Association. “For every head we don’t have in a bed, we don’t have a butt in a seat. Whatever isn’t spent in a hotel room won’t be spent on a meal in a restaurant.”