North Carolina’s Bathroom Bill Is Costlier Than Most Might Expect
North Carolina’s controversial bathroom bill will cost that state approximately $3.76 billion in lost business over the next 12 years, according to new research by the Associated Press.
Critics say House Bill 2, which mandates that transgender people use the bathrooms matching the biological sex on their birth certificates, is discriminatory. Proponents say it protects children from predators who might use it as a loophole it to stalk victims in bathrooms.
HB2 was introduced and passed in a hurry last April, sparking an immediate fallout. Bruce Springsteen and Ringo Star cancelled concerts. PayPal pulled expansion plans in the state. Other tech companies—including IBM (IBM) and Salesforce (CRM)—complained. Some curtailed business travel to the state.
The AP calculated losses from conventions, sporting events, and concerts that were cancelled based on figures from local officials. It omitted any accounts that didn’t provide hard numbers.
The PayPal (PYPL) expansion alone could have added $2.66 billion to the state economy, according to the AP.
Particularly painful to the basketball-crazed state was the NBA’ decision to move last year’s all-star game out of Charlotte to New Orleans. The NCAA is also avoiding the state, home to several college basketball powers including Duke University and the University of North Carolina, which is going to the Final Four this year. The NCAA’s move to avoid the state could cost hundreds of millions all by itself, the AP said.
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The state’s largest employer‚ Bank of America, also weighed in against the bill, signed by former Republican governor Pat McCrory. Roy Cooper, the Democratic state attorney general at the time, called it an embarrassment and declined to defend it against lawsuits.
Last fall, Cooper defeated McCrory in the governor’s race, but does not have the votes in the Republican controlled legislature to overturn the law.
The AP said its $3.76 billion figure likely underestimates total losses to the state. It does not, for example, include items like Lionsgate’s decision not to shoot a new TV project in Charlotte because the financial impact of that could not be determined.