Investors call for repeal of HB2, say it's 'bad for business' in NC
Posted September 26, 2016
Raleigh, N.C. — About 60 investors representing $2.1 trillion in managed assets are joining the NCAA, entertainers and more than 200 businesses in calling for North Carolina to repeal House Bill 2, its controversial law limiting LGBT protections against discrimination.
Investors' Circle, Trillium Asset Management and the New York City Comptroller, along with representatives from Out Leadership and the Croatan Institute say the bill damages North Carolina's ability to compete in the business world.
"Simply put, House Bill 2 is making it harder to finance businesses and get deals done in North Carolina," Joshua Humphreys, president of Croatan Institute, said in a statement. "This diverse group of investors has therefore come together to call for a full repeal of HB2 – before the investment climate in our state deteriorates further."
According to Out Leadership and the Williams Institute, more than $40 million in business investment had already been withdrawn from the state by May.
The call for a repeal comes six months after the passage of HB2 and weeks after the NCAA and the ACC announced they are pulling sporting events out of North Carolina.
“As long-term investors, we can’t sit idly by as HB2 undermines fundamental human rights at our expense,” New York City Comptroller Scott M. Stringer said in a statement.
“For the last 25 years, New York City’s pension funds have pushed more than 100 companies to enact non-discrimination policies that protect LGBTQ individuals and ensure they attract, retain, and promote the best and the brightest."
Gov. Pat McCrory's campaign responded to the call for a repeal Monday afternoon, calling the statement by investors an "attack on North Carolina values."
"For New York hedge fund billionaires to lecture North Carolina about how to conduct its affairs is the height of hypocrisy. Sadly, we are not in the least bit surprised by this attack," McCrory's campaign said. "Hillary Clinton and Roy Cooper have raised ungodly amounts of money from the very people from Goldman Sachs and Wall Street who hosed everyday working North Carolinians during the Great Recession."
Rep. Skip Stam (R-Wake) says investors calling for the bill's repeal should advise their clients to invest in the Tar Heel State, which Stam says has consistenly ranked as one of the best places in the U.S. to do business.
"If these people are interested in returns on their investments for their clients, they should be looking to invest in North Carolina, not to organize some political boycott," Stam said.
Since HB2's passage, scores of entertainers have canceled concerts and other events. In July, 68 companies, including Red Hat and IBM, filed an amicus brief supporting a lawsuit challenging the bill. In it, they argue the bill undermines their ability to do business in and outside of the state.
House Bill 2 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.
Todd Sears, founder and principal of Out Leadership, says North Carolina should fully repeal HB2.
"States and countries can either have modern economies driven by knowledge industries like technology, financial services, and pharmaceuticals, or they can discriminate against LGBT people,” Sears said in a statement.