PHOTO: Charlotte-Douglas International Airport (photo via Flickr/Ken Lund)
A new report from The Associated Press claims that the controversial North Carolina bathroom bill passed in April 2016 will cost the state an estimated $3.76 billion in lost business over the next 12 years.
In total, the analysis found that canceled conventions, concerts and sporting events cost North Carolina more than $196 million thus far and the state will lose more than $525 million by the end of 2017.
The bill requires transgender people to use the bathrooms which corresponds to the sex on their birth certificates. While critics say the legislation is discriminatory, supporters believe it protects children from predators.
The AP report analyzes the projects that have been canceled or relocated because of the bathroom bill. The news agency obtained the information through interviews with businesses and state or local officials, along with public records requests, but admitted the estimate is likely lower than the actual fiscal impact.
Over the last year since the law was enacted, North Carolina has lost several major events and planned business expansions, including a new PayPal facility that would have brought in an estimated $2.66 billion to the economy.
In addition to many mainstream musicians skipping the state on tours to protest the bill—like Bruce Springsteen and Ringo Starr—the NCAA continues to avoid North Carolina as a host site for its annual basketball tournament as long as the bill remains in place.
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The largest employer in North Carolina is Bank of America, and the company’s CEO Brian Moynihan told The AP that he spoke with other businesses that are moving their projects to other states.
“Companies are moving to other places because they don't face an issue that they face here. What's going on that you don't know about? What convention decided to take you off the list?” Moynihan said during the World Affairs Council of Charlotte luncheon last month.
“What location for a distribution facility took you off the list? What corporate headquarters consideration for a foreign company — there's a lot of them out there — just took you off the list because they just didn't want to be bothered with the controversy? That's what eats you up.”
Republicans who helped pass the bill said at the time that the bill would have no financial impact on the state. While the legislation undoubtedly cost North Carolina a considerable amount of money already, the state was still found to be the 10th fastest-growing economy in the U.S. six months after the law was passed.