North Carolina’s discriminatory “bathroom bill” will cost the state at least an estimated $3.76 billion over the next 12 years, according to an analysis by the Associated Press. The AP, which achieved the tally based on public record requests and interviews with local officials, notes that its estimate is conservative because it only includes projects that directly cite HB2 as the reason for relocating.
House Bill 2, otherwise known as the Public Facilities Privacy & Security Act, was signed into law a year ago. It blocks anti-discrimination protections for gender identity or sexual orientation and prohibits people from using public restrooms that do not correspond with the gender on their birth certificate.
In the past year, artists, businesses, and activists have protested the anti-LGBT laws by boycotting the state. Bruce Springsteen, Demi Lovato, and Pearl Jam canceled concerts there; PayPal and Deutsche Bank have called off plans to expand their operations in the state; the NCAA will avoid hosting events as long as the law stands, and the NAACP is calling for a boycott. So far, according to the AP, the state has lost 2,900 jobs because of HB2 and has lost $196 million in revenue from conventions, sporting events, and concerts.
Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan has said that he suspects more businesses will pull out quietly:
“Companies are moving to other places because they don’t face an issue that they face here,” he told a World Affairs Council of Charlotte luncheon last month. “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.”
It’s more than just corporations, however. Tourism is taking a blow, and several states and cities have banned government travel to the state. “The biggest impact is how many times our phones are not ringing now,” said Shelly Green, the CEO of Durham Convention & Visitors Bureau.“When you think about it, this whole thing is just such a Dumpster fire, and nobody wants to go near it.”