Business Update with Mark Lacter |

Does economic boycott of Arizona do any good?

Well, the city of Phoenix says it'll lose $90 million worth of convention and hotel business over the next five years, assuming that the state's new immigration law remains in place. That's not a ton of money, but it doesn't include other boycotts throughout Arizona (not to mention individuals choosing not to spend money in the state). From the Arizona Republic:

"Recent cancellations include the oldest African-American Greek-lettered fraternity, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc., which was supposed to hold a July meeting at the Sheraton. The fraternity's annual convention was expected to draw about 5,000 attendees and as many as 10,000 visitors, a fraternity spokesman said. Organizers will now hold that event in Las Vegas. Other cancellations, all for 2012, are the National Association of Black Accountants, the International Communications Association and the National Urban League."

Whatever the actual number might be, it's obviously not great news for a state where visitor spending topped $18.5 billion in 2008. But boycotts only work if the state or city is nudged into reversing course on an issue, and in this case it seems unlikely that lawmakers will consider changing the immigration law. While boycotts can be effective in certain circumstances, they're not terribly efficient - and more often than not they have a limited shelf life. In another year or two, the immigration debate will no longer be centered in Arizona - it will spread to all parts of the country.

Meanwhile, what is the city of L.A. doing to get a piece of the Arizona convention business?