Arizona’s notorious anti-immigrant law, S.B. 1070, is proving to be a costly mistake. That is the message of a new report from the Center for American Progress (CAP) which estimates some of “the economic and fiscal consequences of the tourism boycott that occurred in response to the passage of S.B. 1070” in April of this year. More precisely, the report quantifies “the effects of lost tourism from meetings and conventions” that were cancelled as a result of the boycott. The report, entitled Stop the Conference, concludes that the cancellation of conventions alone “has produced or will produce hundreds of millions of dollars in lost direct spending in the state and diminished economic output. That, in turn, will lead to thousands of lost jobs and more than $100 million in lost salaries.”

According to the report, the losses resulting from convention cancellations that already have occurred amount to:

  • $141 million in lost direct spending by convention attendees on lodging, food and beverages, entertainment, in-town transportation, and retail sales.
  • 2,761 lost jobs that would have been supported by this spending.
  • $86.5 million in lost earnings that these jobs would have paid.
  • $253 million in lost economic output (goods and services produced).
  • $9.4 million in lost tax revenues that would have been collected by state and local governments.

Moreover, future declines in convention bookings will likely amount to an additional:

  • $76 million in lost direct spending by convention attendees.
  • 1,475 lost jobs.
  • $46 million in lost earnings.
  • $135 million in lost economic output.
  • $5 million in lost taxes.

And these are only the losses associated with the convention industry. As the report notes, its estimates do not include losses stemming from “leisure travel cancellations, municipal business boycotts, entertainment boycotts such as concert cancellations,” etc. Were these losses to be factored in, the economic impact of the Arizona boycott would be far greater.

In other words, anti-immigrant laws such as S.B. 1070 can provoke a costly economic backlash. For that reason, the CAP report offers these words of advice: “Other states considering immigration legislation should pause before rushing to adopt measures like S.B. 1070 and understand the potentially disastrous economic and fiscal consequences of such a decision.”

Photo by NoHoDamon.