A new study says Arizona’s controversial immigration measure cost that state financially, but not as bad as many had feared.
The report says Arizona has lost $141 million in meeting and convention business since the law was signed in April. The Associated Press reports that most of the boycotts called for against Arizona really haven’t worked.
Civil rights groups organized the boycott to slow the state's economy in much the same way that a boycott punished Arizona 20 years ago over its refusal to honor the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. with a holiday. After voters approved that law, the NFL pulled the 1993 Super Bowl from Phoenix, and the NBA told the Phoenix Suns not to bother putting in a bid for the All-Star game. By the time voters finally passed a holiday bill two years later, estimates of lost convention business in the Phoenix area alone topped $190 million.
This time around, groups called on people not to fly Tempe-based US Airways or rent trucks from Phoenix-based U-Haul. There was talk of fighting Major League Baseball's plans for holding the All Star Game in Phoenix next year.
Most of those protests haven't come to fruition. The midsummer classic is still on, a spokeswoman for US Airways said the company saw no effect from the boycott call, and a U-Haul International executive said the same thing.
"In fact, year over year, we're up," said Jim Pena, the rental firm's president for Arizona.
That’s not to say that some Arizona businesses have not felt the effects of the law. Convention losses have cost the hotel industry $45 million. Those vistors would have spent nearly $100 million during their stays. More cancelled meetings and conferences could cost Arizona nearly 3,000 jobs and $250 in economic output over the next two to three years.