Bathroom Bill Will Cost North Carolina Almost $4 Billion, But That’s Not All

North Carolina’s discriminatory bathroom bill (HB2), targeting transgender people, has caused huge financial losses since it was passed last year. Now the Associated Press has calculated the extent of the price the state is paying.

The estimated cost includes just projects that have already pulled out of North Carolina, but will still mount to $3.76 billion over 12 years. That figure probably doesn’t come close to what the actual losses will be. The total depended on public records that show a direct link between companies withdrawing from NC because of HB2.

Many companies are making quiet decisions to avoid the state because of the taint of discrimination against the LGBT community. In February, Brian Moynihan, CEO of Bank of America, told a Charlotte, NC luncheon:

Companies are moving to other places because they don’t face an issue that they face here. 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…

Towns and cities of all sizes are feeling the impact. Charlotte alone has lost 2,000 jobs because of cancelled projects. And every single event — every lost convention, concert and sporting event — also means lost revenue for the support structures a locality has to offer, such as hotels, restaurants, and transportation.

Businesses At Every Level Feel The Effect

The San Francisco Symphony withdrew from two concerts scheduled for April at the University of North Carolina. The Chapel Hill/Orange County Visitors Bureau estimated a hit locally of $375,ooo. Employee Patty Griffin illustrated the effect of the bathroom bill:

Memorial Hall will be empty those two nights and see no revenue for tickets or concessions, and no employees will work. The attendees for most of them who have dinner, drinks and desserts either before or after the performance will not come out, which impacts local restaurants.

Of course, Republican lawmakers defend the law they passed and point to a relatively robust economy. However, the full effects are yet to be felt. Once a favored site for NCAA championship games, North Carolina is off the organization’s list for the foreseeable future — until the law that dictates which bathrooms transgender people can use is off the books. The NAACP has declared a national boycott and more than two dozen cities and states have forbidden official travel to North Carolina. 

It’s indisputable that the state’s economy would be growing faster without the burden of the discriminatory law. No one seems able to identify positive effects from the existence of the bathroom bill.  James Kleckley, of East Carolina University’s business college, reinforced this fact:

I don’t know of any examples where somebody located here because of HB2. If you look at a law, whether or not you agree with it or don’t agree with it, there are going to be positive effects and negative effects. Virtually everything we know about (HB2) are the negative effects. Even anecdotally I don’t know any positive effects.

The Bathroom Bill Has Resulted In Some Karmic Justice

However, there is some karmic justice at work in the situation. First of all, former governor Pat McCrory lost his reelection bid due to the fallout from HB2 but, earlier this month, he reported that  no one will hire him now. In a radio podcast, McCrory lamented:

Even after I left office people are reluctant to hire me, because, ‘oh my gosh, he’s a bigot’ which is the last thing I am.

Sure. Apparently, potential employers are finding that as believable as the citizens who kicked him out of office did.

Feature photo, Gender neutral bathroom via @bcnn1 on Twitter.

 

 

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Deborah Montesano

Deborah Montesano is a longtime political activist and blogger. She learned to fight against impossible odds by living for years in Arizona, but recently relocated to the more progressive-friendly city of Portland, Oregon. Find her on Facebook at facebook.com/thepoliticali/ or on Twitter @thepoliticali_1.

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