Will the Republican leaders who drove the passage of HB2 pay any attention to an exclusive report from the Associated Press putting the cost of lost business from the “bathroom bill” at $3.7 billion?
Not likely. Phil Berger, president pro tem of the State Senate, and House Speaker Tim Moore have flirted with repeal — particularly after the Atlantic Coast Conference and the NCAA indicated there would be no more championships in the state until HB2 was repealed — but they haven’t crossed the threshold.
Compromises being discussed have included qualified repeal, leaving in place limits on anti-discrimination laws from municipalities. GOP leaders continue to talk about the need for limits to protect women and children from being accosted by transgender people in bathrooms and locker rooms, even though there is no evidence that repealing HB2 would be an invitation to predators.
Basically, Republicans are standing behind their horrendous mistake 1. because they can and 2. because HB2’s financial impact has affected mainly urban areas, which Republicans see as strongholds for Democrats.
It’s as if they care little about the damage this ridiculous law has done to North Carolina’s progressive reputation, something that was, by the way, good for business.
But the AP shows how bad it has been for business, from the lost PayPal facility (adding $2.66 billion to the state’s economy over years) to concerts to expansions of companies to lost entertainment shows to the looming cancellation of NCAA events. The NCAA is getting ready, after the Final Four, to announce sites for championships through 2022. Absent repeal of HB2, North Carolina, which has enjoyed favored status with the NCAA, won’t be among them. So there will go another few hundred million dollars.
What a tragic irony that leaders who have touted their ability to create jobs and run the economy have done so much damage to it. They are hurting people who need work, families who need a living. And all to advance an ideological agenda as they try to make a discriminatory law the centerpiece, the symbol, of that agenda.
And conservative business executives see the consequences.
CEO Brian Moynihan of Bank of America likely captured the views of many in his circle: “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? That’s what eats you up.”
Yes, HB2 is eating North Carolina up. Republican leaders apparently are content to preside over the disaster.