North Carolina’s controversial restroom law could cost the state $3.76 billion in lost business over the next 12 years, according to an analysis by the Associated Press.
That figure is based on businesses that already announced departures from North Carolina, including PayPal, Adidas, and CoStar, as well as canceled sporting events, conventions, and concerts.
But the law’s supporters maintain the state economy continues to thrive and insist the lost business is a drop in the bucket of the state’s overall GDP. Proponents hope other states, such as Texas, won’t balk at adopting similar restroom policies based on media hype.
North Carolina’s Republican-controlled legislature called a special session last year to pass the restroom law known as HB2 after the City of Charlotte passed an ordinance forcing businesses to open public restrooms, changing facilities, and showers based on gender identity, not biology. HB2 mandated persons in government buildings use the facility corresponding with the sex on their birth certificates and barred local officials from creating conflicting ordinances.
The governors of New York and Washington soon banned all non-essential travel to North Carolina, popular musicians such as Bruce Springsteen refused to perform in the state, and the NBA and NCAA moved sporting events elsewhere. Just last week the NCAA doubled down, telling North Carolina legislators they have until April 18 to change HB2 or lose hosting privileges for championship contests until 2022.
Despite such warnings, Texas conservatives have introduced a similar piece of legislation governing public facilities in their state.
Earlier this month, North Carolina Lt. Gov. Dan Forest, a Republican, addressed Texas lawmakers ahead of the Texas Privacy Act’s first public hearing.
Forest noted Forbes ranked North Carolina as the second best state in the country to do business in 2016 and said the few much-hyped business departures haven’t made much of an impact on North Carolina’s $500 billion annual GDP.
“The effect is minimal to the state,” Forest told Texas legislators. “Our economy is doing well. Don’t be fooled by the media.”
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