Cancellations over HB2 make headlines but barely dent NC economy

Posted September 21, 2016

House Bill 2 (HB2)

— Despite big numbers that total up to more than half a billion dollars, the numerous sporting events, concerts, conventions and business expansions that North Carolina has lost in recent months because of a state law limiting LGBT rights have created only a tiny ripple on the state economy, according to a rough analysis by WRAL News.

The Charlotte Chamber of Commerce estimated in May that the city had lost $285 million, including a 400-job expansion by PayPal, because of House Bill 2, which prohibits anti-discrimination protections for gay and transgender individuals and requires transgender people to use the bathrooms in schools and other public buildings that correspond to their birth gender.

Meanwhile, Raleigh has lost $5.6 million in direct costs from 18 canceled conventions, and Greensboro has lost $6 million from six conferences that moved elsewhere, according to the convention and visitors bureaus in the two cities. Neither total includes sporting events.

Cary also lost out on a planned 250-job expansion from Deutsche Bank, totaling $27 million in payroll and construction. And Asheville estimates it's lost close to $2 million in cancellations.

The NBA's decision in July to move the 2017 All-Star Game from Charlotte to New Orleans cost the Queen City an estimated $90 million, and the recent decisions of the NCAA and the Atlantic Coast Conference to strip North Carolina of about a dozen collegiate sports championships over the next year is expected to cost another $90 million.

Together, those canceled events top $505 million, and the figures don't even account for the economic activity lost from concerts and other performances, such as Bruce Springsteen and Cirque du Soleil, that have been canceled because of House Bill 2.

While half a billion dollars is a significant figure that's harmed businesses directly affected by cancelations, it's a tiny fraction of the state's overall economy. According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, North Carolina’s gross state domestic product for 2015 was $510 billion. So, even at $500 million, House Bill 2's impact on the state economy has been about 0.1 percent.

WRAL News's analysis used conservative estimates. It does not include losses for which no economic impact data was available, such as the reported cancelation of 1,000-job expansion in Raleigh by an unidentified technology company. It also doesn't account for businesses that may have bypassed North Carolina because of the controversial law without announcing it publicly, or for other damage to the state's global brand.


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  • Morris Vobserv Sep 26, 2016
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    Much talk and complaining...not much loss of money. Anyone with common sense can see that this issue is being latched onto by many so called 'victims' who really are not victims at all. This bill has no victims. It saves women and children from bathroom assaults. Since no one is buying the victim idea, they moved to 'we are losing money'. What a joke. Anyone who does not want to come to NC because of HB2 can stay out anyway. We're all full up of liberals here.

  • Laurence Jones Sep 24, 2016
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    People and businesses move to NC everyday..................one of the reasons may be that........."we don't let men use the women's toilets, changing rooms, and showers".......The left media will never report these..........Of course, person's and businesses won't voice this opinion........Why? because they don't want some unemployed, angry, violent left wing, intolerant, protest mob on their front doorstep......

  • Paul Mitchell Sep 23, 2016
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    From ncpolicywatch.com: “When we talk about the city of Greensboro losing $17.1 million because of these championship losses, it’s not really the city and the coliseum we’re talking about,” Vaughan said. “It’s the hourly workers who depend on these events and the paychecks to make their budgets work. It’s non-profits working concessions to raise money, restaurant workers and their suppliers, linen rental, catering businesses…it just keeps rippling out.”

    Unfortunately, Vaughan said, McCrory and the conservative leadership of the General Assembly still seem more concerned with painting Charlotte as the political villain than solving the problem.

  • Judy Loftin Sep 22, 2016
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    McCrory polls are way up.

  • Russ Bullock Sep 22, 2016
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    Trust me, when North Carolina starts to be viewed by the rest of the nation like just another Alabama, we'll notice.

  • Rick Nolte Sep 22, 2016
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    It was never intended to affect the states economy. However, it greatly affects individuals who would have worked these types of events. Those same individuals vote and that is where the gamer changer takes place. Has nothing to do with crippling the states economy.

  • John Smith Sep 22, 2016
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    How did this story get past all of "expert" opinionators at WRAL and CBC? I mean, just last week headline opinion was "N.C. Continues to suffer from McCory's bungled HB2 wedge issue" One would almost think this was once again a REAL news outlet.
    Kudos Laura.

  • Judy Loftin Sep 22, 2016
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    Governor McCrory is the best Governor we ever had. I would love to see him run for President. He could turn the country into great again.

  • Bo Hart Sep 22, 2016
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    this story will really upset a lot of people ...

  • Sean Chen Sep 22, 2016
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    1. many companies SAY they were going to invest, but either were not really going to and want the publicity… or were only considering NC

    2. blame Roy Cooper for going to out of state entities to both raise money for himself and push for an NC boycott - for his own political gain and campaign for the governorship

    3. we need a governor that leads. not one that actively works to hurt NC's economy so he can get into a higher political position

    4. Roy Cooper refused to do his job as Attorney General, drew a paycheck from the taxpayers, and worked hard to screw our state over

    5. are we really stupid enough to reward Roy Cooper for throwing NC under the bus for his political ambitions?