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North Carolina's 'Bathroom Bill' Could Cost the State More Than $3 Billion

The Associated Press's new analysis tallied up every major project that's been canceled in the state specifically because of HB2.

by Lauren Messman
Mar 27 2017, 3:52pm

Photo via Flickr user Deborah Austin

Former North Carolina governor Pat McCrory isn't the only one suffering after signing the state's controversial "bathroom bill," which forces transgender people to use bathrooms based on what gender they were assigned at birth. Aside from leaving McCrory hard-pressed to find a job, the bill could cost the state more than $3 billion over the next 12 years, according to a new analysis from the Associated Press. 

After McCrory signed the bill into law—which also excludes a person's sexual orientation or gender identity from protection under the state's anti-discrimination laws—major corporations and celebrities decided to boycott North Carolina by refusing to do business or perform there. In order to find out just how much that was costing the state's economy, the AP tallied up every major project that's been canceled specifically in response to the controversial bill.

From losing its hosting gig for the 2017 NBA All Star Game and NCAA basketball playoffs, to canceled performances from Ringo Starr and Bruce Springsteen, to the loss of a $2 million Paypal facility, North Carolina is on track to lose at least $3.76 billion by 2029. According to the AP, the state has also missed out on creating roughly 2,900 new jobs after major companies like Adidas, Deutsche Bank, and CoStar nixed plans to build job centers there.

The $3.76 billion is likely an underestimate, considering the AP was only able to use data that had specifically cited HB2 as a reason for boycotting the state. The news service wasn't able to calculate how much revenue the state would likely lose in the future, should conventions and organizations like the NCAA continue to avoid North Carolina cities. 

Although supporters of the bill touted it as a victory for privacy and safety, business experts said they haven't seen a whole lot of people flocking to North Carolina because of the new law. 

"I don't know of any examples where somebody located here because of HB2," James Kleckley, of East Carolina University's business college, told the AP. "Virtually everything we know about [HB2] are the negative effects. Even anecdotally I don't know any positive effects."