Despite Republican assurances that North Carolina's "bathroom bill" isn't hurting the economy, the law limiting LGBT protections will cost the state more than $3.76 billion in lost business over a dozen years, according to an AP analysis. Over the past year, North Carolina has suffered financial hits ranging from scuttled plans for a PayPal facility that would have added an estimated $2.66 billion to the state's economy to a canceled Ringo Starr concert that deprived a town's amphitheater of about $33,000 in revenue. North Carolina could lose hundreds of millions more because the NCAA is avoiding the state, usually a favored host. The group is set to announce sites for various championships through 2022, and North Carolina won't be among them as long as the law is on the books.
AP calls its analysis—compiled through interviews and public records requests—the largest reckoning yet of how much the law, passed one year ago, could cost the state. Highlights:
- All told, the state has missed out on more than 2,900 direct jobs that went elsewhere. Those include PayPal canceling a 400-job project in Charlotte, CoStar backing out of negotiations to bring 700-plus jobs to the same area, and Deutsche Bank scuttling a plan for 250 jobs in the Raleigh area. Other companies that backed out include Adidas, which is building its first US sports shoe factory employing 160 near Atlanta rather than a High Point site, and Voxpro, which opted to hire hundreds of customer support workers in Athens, Georgia, rather than the Raleigh area.
- Meanwhile, canceled conventions, concerts, and events ranging from the NBA All-Star Game to a Bruce Springsteen show have deprived the state of more than $196 million.
- All told, the state will have missed out on more than $3.76 billion by the end of 2028. The losses are based on projects that already went elsewhere—so the money won't be recouped even if the law is struck down or repealed.
- AP's tally is likely an underestimation of the law's true costs. 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.
- HB2 supporters say its costs have been tiny compared with an economy estimated at more than $500 billion a year, roughly the size of Sweden's. Lt. Gov. Dan Forest says a global equestrian competition that's coming to North Carolina in 2018 despite HB2 is projected to have an economic impact bigger than the sporting events that have canceled. The Swiss-based group behind the event estimated its spending poured about $250 million into the French region of Normandy when it was last held in 2014.
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