The fallout from North Carolina’s discriminatory and transphobic “bathroom bill” is raining down on the state and its economy. The European finance giant Deutsche Bank has announced it is “freezing” its plans for a $9 million expansion in protest over the bigoted and useless law, HB 2, which criminalizes the use of non-biologically corresponding bathrooms by transgender Americans. The expansion would have created some 250 jobs.
Co-CEO John Cryan wrote that “We take our commitment to building inclusive work environments seriously. We’re proud of our operations and employees in Cary and regret that as a result of this legislation we are unwilling to include North Carolina in our US expansion plans for now. We very much hope that we can re-visit our plans to grow this location in the near future.”
This is just the latest blow to the embattled state and its Republican-strangled legislature. While the governor dismissed claims that the bill would damage the state’s economy, the backlash has been swift. The Wake County tourism board reports that the city of Raleigh has already lost some $732,000 in potential revenue following the pull-out of tech company PayPal, the cancellation of rock concerts by Bruce Springsteen, and the cancellation of events by a wide range of businesses including the “The International Association of Security and Investigative Regulators, Johnstone Supply, the Matria Tech Leadership Conference and the N.C. State Library Conference.”
Sixteen other and as yet unnamed groups are considering pulling out of the state or canceling events which would have brought a total of 73,500 people to the area and infuse an estimated $24 million into the local economy. As Indiana’s bigoted Governor Mike Pence found to his horror, anti-LGBT bigotry is not a productive or profitable venture. For all their appeals to fiscal responsibility, Republicans continuously insist on passing discriminatory laws that don’t address any tangible problems but simply make a political statement of repression that inevitably cripples their own states’ economies. They are irresponsible religious extremists who don’t even pretend to govern in a logical or efficient way anymore.
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Opinion columnist and former editor-in-chief of Occupy Democrats. He graduated from Bennington College with a Bachelor's degree in history and political science. He now focuses on advancing the cause of social justice and equality in America.