The N.C. Chamber and several state-run economic development agencies haven’t said much about the controversial LGBT law that prompted PayPal to cancel a Charlotte expansion Tuesday.
While chambers of commerce in Charlotte, Raleigh and elsewhere have voiced concerns about House Bill 2 and its effects on the economy, the statewide N.C. Chamber is still researching the issue.
“We run our businesses based on a factual understanding of the challenges we face,” a written statement from the Chamber said. “The North Carolina Chamber is conducting an analysis of the recently passed law, HB2. We look forward to leading our state to new opportunities for North Carolina's current residents and those who want to join us in the future.”
Christopher Chung, the CEO of the Economic Development Partnership, says his group won’t take a formal position on House Bill 2. Chung’s organization markets the state using a mix of state funds and private contributions.
“Given the type of organization we are, it’s not appropriate for us to make comments on public policy matters,” he said.
Chung said some of the companies he’s recruiting have asked questions about the law, some have voiced concerns and others haven’t mentioned the law. He said the companies with concerns are still having “active conversations” with the partnership about investing in the state.
When faced with questions from companies, Chung said, “we usually point to what’s been published in news publications.”
N.C. Secretary of Commerce John Skvarla, who serves as the McCrory administration’s top corporate recruiter, did not respond to requests for comment Tuesday afternoon.
In an interview last week with Triangle Business Journal, Skvarla said that he “has not seen a diminution in the pipeline” of companies looking to invest in North Carolina and that it’s “business as usual” for his agency.
Local pro-business groups have been more vocal but haven’t directly addressed the law or called for its repeal.
Greater Raleigh Chamber CEO Tim Giuliani issued a statement saying that “reducing anti-discrimination protections damages our reputation and will impact economic development.” The Greater Durham Chamber of Commerce said that it “believes that discrimination is bad for business” and planned to review House Bill 2 at an April meeting. And the Charlotte Chamber has called for “leaders at the city and state levels to contribute toward a solution that is in the best interest of our city and state.”