Commentary

HB2 threatens half billion dollar hit to NC economy

As the headlines pile up announcing business opposition to the pro-discrimination legislation HB2, it’s becoming increasingly clear that the law is placing North Carolina’s economy in jeopardy.

In fact, a recent report from the Center for American Progress finds that HB2 threatens $567 million in economic activity from just the companies that have announced they are canceling or reconsidering investment in the state, the tourism dollars lost due to canceled conventions, and entertainers like Bruce Springsteen and Ringo Starr canceling events in North Carolina.

Even more troubling, this total doesn’t include all the potential economic development projects that won’t happen but no one hears about as companies quietly write North Carolina off their list of possible locations for expansion. And it doesn’t include the $20 billion in federal aid that could be lost if it turns out that HB2 runs afoul of federal anti-discrimination laws.

According to the report, here’s a list of all the losses and pending losses to the state’s economy happening as a direct result of HB2:

Lost pending repeal of H.B. 2:

At risk pending repeal of H.B. 2:

Three weeks after the passage of HB2, it’s clear that we’re only beginning to scratch the surface of the impact this misguided and openly discriminatory law will have on our state’s economy. The deeper impacts will involve not just lost economic development projects but a longer-term loss in the talent, capital and innovation that are so essential in growing an economy that generates prosperity for everyone.

By now, we all recognize that previous eras of legal racial discrimination and apartheid held back North Carolina’s economy for so many generations and that once segregation was ended, the state’s economy experienced the greatest boom in its history. That’s because economies grow the fastest — and benefit the most people — when everyone can participate. Laws like HB2 keep capital, skills and consumer spending on the sidelines, dragging down economic growth and prosperity for everyone.

Discrimination never pays.

And that’s another reason why Governor McCrory and legislative leaders should see the light and repeal HB2.

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