HB2 could cost NC $3.7 billion in lost business says report

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP/WNCN) — House Bill 2 is expected to cost North Carolina more than $3.7 billion in lost business over a dozen years.

The new numbers come from an Associated Press report.

The controversial bill has cost the state dozens of concerts, sporting events and jobs. The new numbers come just days after the one year anniversary HB2 was passed at the General Assembly.

The AP reports North Carolina has missed out on more than 2,900 direct jobs that went elsewhere because of HB2, including a PayPal facility that would have added about $2.66 billion to the state’s economy.

The AP analysis — compiled through interviews and public records requests — represents the largest reckoning yet of how much the law, passed one year ago, could cost the state. The law excludes gender identity and sexual orientation from statewide anti-discrimination protections, and requires transgender people to use restrooms corresponding to the sex on their birth certificates in many public buildings.

Still, AP’s tally 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. A business project was counted only if AP determined through public records or interviews that HB2 was why it pulled out.

Some projects that left, such as a Lionsgate television production that backed out of plans in Charlotte, weren’t included because of a lack of data on their economic impact.

The AP also tallied the losses of dozens of conventions, sporting events and concerts through figures from local officials. The AP didn’t attempt to quantify anecdotal reports that lacked hard numbers, or to forecast the loss of future conventions.

Republican leaders are telling a different story, saying the economic impact to the state is minimal and the real issue is about privacy, safety and security in bathrooms.

Leaders on both sides of the aisle say they’re moving to make changes to HB2.

“At the end of the day, whatever we decide to do is going to stand by the principles that we make sure we protect,” said House Speaker Rep. Tim Moore, R-Cleveland.

“We’re working hard, I hope we can do it. The NCAA just gave us a deadline, something we should pay attention to. We need to get this done,” said Gov. Roy Cooper

The governor said lawmakers have to make changes to HB2 here this week or they will not be holding championship events in North Carolina.

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