House Bill 2, North Carolina’s anti-LGBT legislation that went into effect last year, could cost the state at least $3.76 billion in lost revenue over the next dozen years, an Associated Press analysis concluded.
HB2 prevents cities and localities from putting in place anti-discrimination policies regarding sexual orientation and gender identity. It also forces transgender people to use the public bathroom that matches the gender listed on their birth certificate, even if this does not align with their gender identity.
The report comes out just after the NCAA gave North Carolina an ultimatum, saying that if the law doesn’t change the state risks losing out on hosting future championship games.
“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 on March 23. “As the state knows, next week our various sports committees will begin making championships site selections for 2018-2022 based upon bids received from across the country.Once the sites are selected by the committee, those decisions are final and an announcement of all sites will be madeon April 18.”
According to AP’s estimates, North Carolina is on track to lose a total of $196 million through not only sporting events but also concerts, conventions and other similar events.
Also among the most significant estimated losses are:
PayPal ($2.66 billion)
Deutsche Bank ($543 million)
CoStar ($250 million)
Voxpro ($52 million)
Adidas ($67 million)
The AP notes that its calculation “is likely an underestimation of the law’s true costs. The count includes only data obtained from businesses and state or local officials regarding projects that canceled or relocated because of HB2.” The estimate does not account for business that may have been lost in which the parties involved did not publicly announce that HB2 affected its decision.
Also not factored into its tally, AP notes, are projects for which the economic effect could not be determined. For instance, Lionsgate pulled out of producing a television series pilot in North Carolina almost immediately after the law was signed. The Charlotte Observer reported at the time that the studio said HB2 is “deplorable and discriminatory, and it runs counter to everything we stand for.” Lost revenue in this case, and others, was not included “because of a lack of data on their economic impact.”
North Carolina Lt. Gov. Dan Forest, a Republican, called the report “a sad commentary on our media” and rejected the idea that the state’s economy was in trouble even if the numbers are accurate.
“The recent economic forecast reported by the Associated Press has no basis in fact and is another attempt to mislead and confuse the public through a bogus headline,” Forest said in a statement. “The AP’s figures are based off one person’s guess over a 12 year period. If even using the AP’s numbers as fact, the total ‘loss’ would equate to 0.06 percent, meaning on overall impact of approximately one half of 1/10 of one 1 percent.
In contrast, Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper cautioned that the analysis should not be taken lightly.
“We now know that, based on conservative estimates, North Carolina’s economy stands to lose nearly $4 billion because of House Bill 2,” the governor wrote in a Facebook post. “That means fewer jobs and less money in the pockets of middle class families. We need to fix this now. I remain ready to support a compromise that works to end discrimination and brings jobs and sports back to North Carolina.”
Cooper has been opposed to HB2 for a long time but has been unsuccessful in repealing it. In December North Carolina Republicans backed out of what was supposed to be a clean repeal of HB2.
In February the NAACP called for a boycott of North Carolina, with President and CEO Cornell William Brooks saying, “If we demonstrate the power of the purse, then we will demonstrate the power of democracy.”
In January California announced it will no longer fund trips for government officials to states that passed anti-LGBT legislation any time after June 26, 2015. This includes North Carolina.
“The law also requires the Attorney General to develop, maintain, and post on her Internet Web site a current list of states that are subject to the travel ban,” according to the bill’s text.
California was the first state to pass such legislature. AB 1887 was co-sponsored and co-authored by Assemblyman Evan Low, who is gay.