Post submitted by Allison Turner, HRC Communications Assistant
North Carolina’s HB2 is a disaster for LGBTQ North Carolinians, the state’s reputation and its economy. In the less than four months since its passed, the Tar Heel State has taken an at least $329.9 million hit in lost business, and in taxpayer money used to defend the bill -- including funding Gov. Pat McCrory’s road trips to explain why he signed discrimination into law.
Raleigh and Charlotte, the state’s major cities, have reported astronomical losses post-HB2. Raleigh estimated on July 7 losses at $7.6 million from canceled conventions, while surrounding businesses affected by the cancellations have taken a $32.6 million hit. Last month, the Charlotte Chamber of Commerce reported a $285 million loss to area businesses, including saying goodbye to $3.6 million when PayPal chose to move its facility from Charlotte, citing concern for its LGBTQ employees. Additionally, Orange County, home of the University of North Carolina, yesterday reported $460,000 in economic losses.
Small businesses across the state are also reporting losses in revenue, as well as increased business expenses because of the law. Asheville ceramic artist Michael Hofman told the Asheville Citizen-Times he suffered a 30 percent loss in sales this fiscal quarter. Other businesses, fearing the detrimental effects of HB2, are spending hard-earned money as a precaution. LaZoom Tours in Asheville, for example, has added $2,000 in advertising to its monthly budget since the passage of HB2.
Business owners aren’t the only ones being harmed monetarily by HB2. The state is throwing away taxpayer money trying to defend discrimination. The North Carolina General Assembly (NCGA) has diverted $500,000 from the state’s disaster relief fund to pay legal costs associated with the civil rights lawsuit the Department of Justice has brought against state officials over the discriminatory bill. Governor Pat McCrory has also been using taxpayer money to fund his 15 minutes of fame -- a reported $7,500 just to fly to TV appearances to defend this indefensible law. On top of this, the state’s budget allocated an additional $3.75 million to marketing after the bill was passed.
For those keeping score, these substantial losses have been reported just in the first few months since the bill became law. The damages will no doubt continue to mount as McCrory, Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger, and House Speaker Tim Moore continue fighting for this discriminatory and economically toxic law.
This economic disaster won’t go away until lawmakers come to their senses, do what’s right for their constituents and repeal HB2.