Still, AP's tally is likely an underestimation of the law's true costs. The count includes only data obtained from businesses and state or local officials regarding projects that canceled or relocated because of HB2. A business project was counted only if AP determined through public records or interviews that HB2 was why it pulled out.Even as a conservative estimate, $3.76 billion is a lot of money—roughly the state’s annual contribution to Medicaid, for example. But let’s assume the AP undercounted by a lot. Let’s say the real number is something like $5 billion over the next ten years, or $500 million per year, compared to about $313 million a year under the AP’s estimate.
“The recent economic forecast reported by the Associated Press has no basis in fact and is another attempt to mislead and confuse the public through a bogus headline. The AP's figures are based off one person's guess over a 12 year period. Over this same time period, according to all economic forecasts, our state will have a GDP of over $6 trillion. If even using the AP's numbers as fact, the total ‘loss’ would equate to 0.06%, meaning on overall impact of approximately one half of 1/10 of one 1%. And the percentage of GDP loss would only be that high if we had no more economic growth from now until 2029, which is absurd to say the least.”Exhibit B: the predictable-as-sunrise NC Values Coalition, which issued a press release along those same lines.
“All indicators point to the state’s economy as one of the healthiest and one of the most business-friendly states in the nation. … The AP’s 12-year estimate equates to tiny fraction of North Carolina's estimated GDP of 6.8 trillion over the next 12 years and fails to account for events and businesses that will choose the State because of our privacy protections.”They’re not wrong. It just doesn’t matter. This entire debate—whether HB 2 has cost North Carolina $1 or $1 trillion—is beside the point. When we reduce civil rights to a question of the quantification of economic impacts, we’re making the wrong argument.