North Carolina's anti-LGBT House Bill 2 will cost the state an estimated $3.76 billion in lost business over the course of 12 years, according to a new estimate from the Associated Press.
The law prevents local governments from enacting or enforcing LGBT-inclusive employment nondiscrimination ordinances (affecting private businesses or contractors) and bars transgender people from using the restrooms, locker rooms, and other sex-segregated facilities that correspond with their gender identity, if these facilities are located in government buildings, including public elementary and secondary schools and state colleges and universities. It also bars localities from setting a minimum wage higher than the state’s, and until Friday’s change, revoked the right for employees to sue for discrimination in state court.
PayPal had plans to build a new facility in North Carolina that would have brought an estimated $2.66 billion to the economy, but it was canceled, as were several concerts by major artists. The NCAA has banned playoffs in the state, which could cost North Carolina millions. Many NCAA championships have been held there in the past, but when the group announces upcoming playoffs through 2022, North Carolina will on the list of sites, AP reports.
AP reached its tally of $3.76 billion through interviews and public record requests, but the news service says this is an underestimation of what HB 2 has and will cost North Carolina, as it counted only business losses that had hard numbers tied to them. Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan said he's spoken with corporate leaders who have told him they chose to go elsewhere with their business because they didn't want to be associated with being anti-LGBT.
"Companies are moving to other places because they don't face an issue that they face here," Moynihan said while speaking at a World Affairs Council of Charlotte luncheon in February. "What's going on that you don't know about? What convention decided to take you off the list? What location for a distribution facility took you off the list? What corporate headquarters consideration for a foreign company — there's a lot of them out there — just took you off the list because they just didn't want to be bothered with the controversy? That's what eats you up."
Supporters of HB 2 have said the cost is minuscule and that "they're willing to absorb those costs if the law prevents sexual predators posing as transgender people from entering private spaces to molest women and girls — acts the law's detractors say are imagined," reports AP.
The state has lost around 2,900 jobs because of HB 2. PayPal's expansion was going to create 400 jobs, CoStar was going to bring around 700 jobs to the state, and Deutsche Bank was planning to create 250 jobs. Adidas instead took its business to Atlanta, where it is going to have 160 openings, and Voxpro, a company that was going to hire hundreds of workers in the state, opted for Atlanta as well.
The tourism industry has also seen the effects of HB 2. "The biggest impact is how many times our phones are not ringing now," Shelly Green, CEO of the Durham Convention and Visitors Bureau, told AP. At least two dozen cities and states have banned taxpayer-funded travel to the state.