Discrimination Is Expensive: Bathroom Bill Costing North Carolina Billions

by Mike Julianelle
(Photo by Sara D. Davis/Getty Images).

The controversial bill will cost the state $3.7B over the next twelve years

A bill that seemed like a bad idea to many people when it was introduced just keeps getting worse. Not only has the bill caused a ton of controversy, a wide range of companies have pulled their business from the state.

Business that would have contributed close to 4 billion dollars to North Carolina’s ecoonomy.

The Associated Press put together an analysis of the fallout from the HB2 law, which was enacted by the state’s Republican administration to prevent transgender people from using the bathroom of the gender they identify with (as opposed to the one on their birth certificate) and allows business to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation. The ‘bathroom bill’ seems designed less to keep people safe from a non-existent threat and more to curtail the civil rights of LGBT people.

Judging by the list the AP compiled, using interviews and public records requests, HB2 clearly does not sit well with a variety of businesses and entertainers that don’t want to endorse such hateful legislation.

Companies as diverse as Paypal and Adidas have scrapped plans to build new facilities in the state, which were set to add, respectively, around $2.66 billion and $67 million to the North Carolina economy over the next decade-plus. Earlier this year, after the bill was passed, the NBA pulled its 2017 All-Star game from Charlotte, and Bruce Springsteen showed solidarity with the LGBT community, and decent people everywhere, by canceling a concert he’d scheduled in the state. “It is the strongest means I have for raising my voice in opposition to those who continue to push us backwards instead of forwards,” Springsteen wrote in a statement about the concert cancellation.

The NCAA is in the midst of planning its tournaments for through 2022 and North Carolina, home to some of the country’s most prominent college basketball programs – including the University of North Carolina, who are in this year’s Final Four (along with their neighbors at the University of South Carolina, just a stone’s throw away) – is being ruled out for those as well, thanks to this bill. That can’t sit well with many North Carolina residents.

At a certain point, the politicians who supported the bathroom bill have to start wondering what they’re gaining from it. One would hope that their consciences would have prevented them from legislating intolerance long before it got to this point, but if anything should give politicians pause, it should be this steady outflow of funds.

Supporters of the bill have touted the fact that it wouldn’t cost anything, but the AP’s findings reveal exactly how wrong they are. It’s no longer simply a PR disaster, it’s becoming a financial one. Even a state that’s growing as quickly as North Carolina has been would be crazy to sit by and watch as business flee, all as a result of one piece of legislation that was on the wrong side of history the day it was brought to the floor.

As depressing as it is that the kind of discrimination this legislation promotes is still a thing in 2017, it’s heartening to watch companies and performers put their money where their mouths are, and stop bringing their business where hate lives.