How Corporate America forced Arizona bill's veto

Published on NewsOK Modified: February 27, 2014 at 4:30 pm •  Published: February 27, 2014
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"There is genuine concern throughout the business community that this bill, if signed into law, would jeopardize all that has been accomplished so far," Parker wrote in a letter to the governor.

Parker noted that "few states suffered as greatly during the recession as Arizona" and that the region is showing great signs of an economic comeback.

Verizon CEO Lowell C. McAdam also flexed some muscle, noting that Verizon has 2,500 Arizona employees, spent $1.4 billion on its in-state network and has more than 2.6 million customers there.

"It is our hope to continue to grow our business in Arizona, but legislation like (this bill) is extremely harmful to pursuing this objective," McAdam wrote.

Other companies, such as Intel, PetSmart, American Express, eBay and GoDaddy joined with local and state chambers of commerce and other business collations, signing letters in opposition to the bill, known as SB 1062. One after another delivered the same clear message: This is discriminatory and bad for the bottom line.

— Yelp: "This bill goes against the rule that every great business subscribes to, which is that the customer is always right."

— Marriott: "This legislation has the potential to subject our state to travel boycotts."

— Southwest Airlines: "Already, even just the discussion surrounding (the bill) has had a profound and immediate impact on the Arizona tourism industry and on our company."

— Starwood Hotels: "We expect a significant number of tourists, event planners and even corporations will react hostilely to passage of (this bill) and will choose to book trips and events other than in Arizona."

"Business leaders feel emboldened to speak out on a wide range of issues now," West, of the Brookings Institute, said. "They understand that they have a platform and are using it more and more."

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Scott Mayerowitz can be reached at http://twitter.com/GlobeTrotScott.