In refusing to reconsider HB 2, state leaders have endangered billions of dollars in federal funds that pay for services like education, transportation, public safety here in North Carolina. Based on figures currently available, roughly $1.4 billion dollars appears to be at risk for just the UNC and community college systems. While it is too early to know exactly how the loss of federal funds would be absorbed, it is safe to say that the economic toll would be enormous.
Preliminary analysis shows that losing federal funds for higher education could cost the state upwards of 20,000 jobs. To put that in context, that’s almost half of all the jobs created across the whole state in 2014, and more people than are employed in 45 of North Carolina’s 100 counties.
These losses would not just impact staff and students. Companies that provide goods and services to state colleges and universities could lose thousands of jobs, as could retail and other consumer-driven industries.
Unfortunately, the real economic consequences of HB 2 are sure to be much larger. In addition to the other federal funding that may be lost and the private companies that have already decided (and will continue to decide) to take their business elsewhere, HB 2 is undermining North Carolina’s reputation around the world. So long as this law is on the books, the camera will continue to catch pictures of the state’s bad side instead of the friendly, industrious, and inventive image that has done the state so much good over the past few decades.
For a governor who claims that job creation is his first priority, and who still professes confusion over why HB 2 has caused such an outcry, that’s a pretty high price to pay just to make sure that college students and staff cannot use the bathroom that fits their lived gender identity.
(Stay tuned: On Monday, we will release an analysis of the economic impact associated with all federal funds that are endangered by HB2)