WASHINGTON (JTA) — Texas Gov. Greg Abbott called in his budget for passing laws cutting off businesses from Texas pension plans that adhere to Israel boycotts and broadening laws banning state investments in Iran.
“While Texas pension plans have the goal of maximizing returns to protect the financial future of our state’s retirees, this mission should not come at the expense of our principles,” Abbott said in the proposed budget sent Tuesday to the Texas Legislature.
“To that end, Texas pension funds should be prohibited from making investments that directly fund our nation’s enemies or those that would bolster companies with stated anti-Israel policies,” he said. “No Texas tax dollars should prop up the terror-funding regime in Iran, so the state should expand current Iran divestiture laws. And no Texas tax dollars should support companies who boycott Israel, one of our nation’s greatest allies, in the name of political correctness or in pursuit of flawed political agendas.”
Texas, like many other states, currently bans state pension and retirement funds from investing in Iran. Abbott last year pledged to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel that he would endeavor to extend the ban to all state agencies and local authorities.
Bills under consideration in both the Texas House and Senate would ban state pensions from dealing with companies complying with the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement targeting Israel. The language in the measures would include a ban on the pensions investing in companies complying with boycotts of West Bank settlement goods.
It would also create blacklists of the companies that comply with BDS, a characteristic of other state anti-BDS laws that civil libertarians say violates free speech rights.