The Economic Impact Of North Carolina's Bathroom Bill Fiasco

North Carolina has faced many financial hits from big companies wary of the state’s legislation.
03/28/2017 12:39 pm ET Updated Mar 28, 2017

On Monday, the Associated Press published an analysis that North Carolina would $3.76 billion in lost business for over a decade due to its “bathroom bill.”

Shortly after then-Governor Pat McCrory signed the controversial bill into law, he assured North Carolinians that it would not affect the state’s status as “one of the top states to do business in the country.”

However, North Carolina has faced many financial hits from big companies wary of the state’s legislation that restricts protections for transgender people.

PayPal, the digital payment behemoth, thwarted its expansion plans of opening a facility in the state in April 2016. The state’s commerce secretary, John Skvarla, told the Charlotte Observer months after PayPal’s announcement, to give its welcome gift, a wooden bowl, back.

Had PayPal opened its facilities in the state, North Carolina would’ve seen an infusion of $2.66 billion to the state’s economy, according to the AP analysis.

Companies are relocating their conventions, conferences, sporting event and concerts. The NCAA recently placed even more pressure for the legislation to be repealed or it would remove the state from consideration to host championship games indefinitely.

“Absent any change in the law, our position remains the same regarding hosting current or future events in the state,” the NCAA said in a statement Thursday. “As the state knows, next week our various sports committees will begin making championship site selections for 2018-2022 based upon bids received from across the country.”

Banking institutions have also changed avenues for its conferences and projects in the state due to the controversy. The chief executive of Bank of America, Brian Moynihan, said in a luncheon reported by the AP that “Companies are moving to other places because they don’t face an issue that they face here.” Bank of America is the largest company based in the state.

And, predictably, it gets worse for North Carolina: According to the analysis, almost 3,000 direct jobs went elsewhere as a result of the state’s bathroom bill. CoStar, a real estate company, pulled out of negotiations of bringing 700-plus jobs to the state after its chief executive ran into opposition from the company’s board. Deutsche Bank, the German bank, also announced it would back out of 250 jobs. PayPal’s reconsideration meant 400-plus jobs went elsewhere.

North Carolina’s legislators, according to local news organizations, are going to send Governor Roy Cooper, a Democrat, a plan that beefs up the state’s rainy day reserve for emergencies. The move came hours after the AP analysis.

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