WASHINGTON ― North Carolina just lost another $250 million to HB 2, the state’s controversial law that discriminates against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.
CoStar Group, a real estate research firm, announced this week that it has chosen Richmond, Virginia, for its new research operations center. The company had been looking around the country for the right spot, and was initially eyeing Charlotte, North Carolina. But the board rejected that location because of HB 2, the Charlotte Observer reported Wednesday.
Richmond, meanwhile, will get a nice boost to its local economy: The firm’s expansion means 730 new jobs and a $250 million investment.
Gov. Pat McCrory (R) signed HB 2 in March. It prevents local governments from passing LGBTQ anti-discrimination policies, and, going further than any other state, it bans transgender people from using public bathrooms that match their gender identity.
The backlash has been brutal. Businesses have boycotted the state in protest. Big-ticket entertainers have canceled shows. More than 90 major companies, including Apple, Facebook, Airbnb, Yahoo, Twitter, Marriott, Pfizer and Levi Strauss, signed a letter urging McCrory to repeal the law. Prominent universities have rebuked it. PayPal scrapped a plan to expand in Charlotte. The NBA relocated its All-Star game. Cities including San Francisco, New York City, Atlanta and Washington, D.C., banned government-sponsored travel to the state.
North Carolina has already lost at least $395 million to HB 2, according to Wired, which crunched some numbers in mid-September.
The governor’s press office did not respond to a request for comment on Wednesday’s news.
McCrory, who has signaled he won’t repeal the law, has taken a hit in the polls over it. He’s up for re-election in November and has been steadily trailing his Democratic challenger, Roy Cooper, since the spring.
Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D), meanwhile, hailed CoStar’s decision to come to his state and said it shows what a difference it makes having a Democratic governor.
“It came down to us and North Carolina. And you know what happened, Mark? Why didn’t it go to North Carolina? HB 2,” McAuliffe said in a Wednesday interview on WTOP, a D.C.-area radio station. “We have a big governor’s race up next year. Now, if you have a Republican governor, they will sign those bills and it will be crippling to the Virginia economy.”