We might’ve been led to believe that North Carolina’s controversial “bathroom bill,” the legislation that defines access to public facilities by transgender individuals, wouldn’t hurt the economy, but a recent Associated Press analysis shows that the bill will cost the state around $3.76 billion in lost business over the next 12 years.
The law, passed a year ago, excludes gender identity and sexual orientation from the state’s anti-discrimination laws, and also requires transgender individuals to use public bathrooms according to the gender stated on their birth certificate, but it is inconvenient to more than just those directly affected. “Companies are moving to other places because they don’t face an issue that they face here,” Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan told a World Affairs Council of Charlotte luncheon last month.
The financial toll of lost revenue has been accumulating steadily in the twelve months since the bill’s inception. First, plans to build a PayPal facility that would’ve pumped an extra $2.66 billion into the local economy were abandoned, then a Ringo Starr concert that was to be held in a town’s ampitheater was cancelled, depriving them of around another $33,000 in revenue.
And then there’s March Madness. The NCAA tournament, one of the biggest sporting events in the country, is in full swing right now and almost every year UNC and Duke are main contenders for the national title, however, although North Carolina has long been a favored host, the NCAA are soon to announce the sites for championships through 2022 and North Carolina won’t hear their name while this bill is in action. The NCAA avoiding the state will only cost them hundreds of millions more.
Brian Moynihan continued to vent his frustration at the World Affairs Council of Charlotte luncheon. “What’s going on that you don’t know about? What convention decided to take you off the list? What location for a distribution facility took you off the list? What corporate headquarters consideration for a foreign company — there’s a lot of them out there — just took you off the list because they just didn’t want to be bothered with the controversy? That’s what eats you up.”
James Kleckley of East Carolina University’s Business College can’t come up with any economic benefits of the bathroom bill either. “I don’t know of any examples where somebody located here because of HB2,” he said. “If you look at a law, whether or not you agree with it or don’t agree with it, there are going to be positive effects and negative effects. Virtually everything we know about (HB2) are the negative effects. Even anecdotally I don’t know any positive effects.” Well, here are the costs so far: