This diary shows how a run-away political party can decimate a state economy while pretending they have made things great, much as in a Trumpian nightmare. Pat McCrory is trumpeting a supposed “North Carolina Comeback,” much like the mythical Texas comeback under George W. Bush. Meanwhile, in the real world, medium incomes here are 42nd in the nation. And that data precedes HB2. Things will only go down from there.
North Carolina’s infamous HB2 continues to take a toll. It does so in terms of harming transgendered persons, as I explained in Part 1. HB2 also has taken a monstrous toll on the very economy Gov McCrory claims as evidence that he should be returned to the governorship. On the surface, the NC economy appears to defy a despicable governor and his compatriots-of-hate in the General Assembly. Despite their lunatic and endless tax cutting, and despite those cuts going mostly to the 1% (sales taxes and fees go up for everyone else), the economy chugs along. No one knows how we will be in a couple of years, but the outlook is bleak. Indeed with hundreds of millions in public and and even more private dollars lost, 2017 will be much worse. And it is the fault of the GOP. This is what they do. They gerry rig economies so that if they lose the next president or governor gets blamed. Certainly, the election is “too soon” to see the real consequences of the never ending boycott. Of course, it is not too soon to oust the clowns who would give anyone cuolrophobia.
Some of you will argue that we North Carolinians deserve this because of the Tea Party takeover of our state beginning in 2010 and culminating in 2014. You would be partly right, and partly wrong.Though elections have consequences, there are also more Democrats than Republicans in NC, but Republicans have gerrymandered it so extremely that we Democrats only got 3 Congressional seats in the entire state of 13 districts. It’s so extreme it could only stand in a system so skewed there is no longer one person, one vote. Thank you, Citizens United (not). State districts aren’t a lot better.
Just One Town: The Example of Cary, NC
The HB2 boycott’s effects on NC venues is staggering. Millions have been lost in my town alone. Our town of 140,000 prizes its parks (e.g., Bond Park Kids Together Park and many more) and recreation. Cary has invested many millions to provide wonderful, creative parks; exceptional bike trails; and sports and music venues for its citizens. On any given weekend night there is something for parents to attend with their families, and for couples and singles. In the summer, the NC Symphony and world-class acts play outdoors in one tree-encircled lakeside venue. For a once small-town VA “girl,” this is amazing. Cary also has aggressively attracted major corporations to town. Twenty years ago, Cary looked like a crescent shaped community on the western edge of Raleigh. Now it reaches much further west. It has done a remarkable job of keeping town taxes affordable while providing a great place to live. Our taxes here are not that much higher than when we lived in Blacksburg. Prior to one council woman moving up to the legislature in a special election, we had a Democratic majority in town governance. In the absence of her replacement, it is fifty-fifty split. But Dems and Republicans reach consensus most of the time. Many votes are unanimous. Imagine if we could do that in the rest of America! This is not to suggest all is just the way I want it. But despite missing those we left behind in Virginia, I couldn’t ask for a better community. And I have never lived in a better one. Sorry, Blacksburg. It is the state GOP-led governance that is the problem. And it is ruining a once great state.
Cary has built and recently expanded a competition-level tennis center, which hosts collegiate and USTA events. Not far from my home is a baseball stadium, which hosts the USA Baseball Training Center and NCAA Div 2 championships (or did host the latter until HB2). We have a soccer stadium for world class soccer. We have a private competition ready Triangle Aquatics Club (TAC), where my grandsons once, when younger, practiced and competed. And US Diving has a private diving complex already in the planning stages.
The official town losses of over $2 million so far do not include private monies lost from thousands of hotel rooms unused and restaurants without customers. Many such owners are people of good will. And the NC GOP has decimated them.
But losses beyond the Town of Cary are even more staggering. The Institute for Southern Studies reports that Paypal canceled a planned expansion. That would have brought 400 jobs and over $20 million in payroll a year to Charlotte. Deutche Bank cancelled over $21 million a year. Numerous other corporations have also declined planned expansions.
In addition to the loses in my town of Cary, the ACC just decided to pull all its current year events from NC. The NCAA has moved almost all of its regional and national championships out of the state contributing to hundreds of millions lost. Durham will lose over $5 million from losing the ACC baseball championship at its Durham Bulls Athletic Park at a loss to Durham County of over $5 million. This doesn’t include hotels, restaurants and services losing customers. Nor does it tell the story of all the part-time workers losing their incomes. The NBA pulled its All-Star Game, resulting in hundreds of millions lost. Games lost may never return.
Convention cancellations have resulted in $19.7 million lost, just in cancellations that I know of.
Beginning with Bruce Springsteen, dozens have cancelled events resulting in losses of millions of dollars all over the state. Some (e.g., Dixie Chicks) have performed with a preach about HB2. We can argue about which approach to protest is more effective. Just know, Virginia, that NC Republican pols don’t care.
Other harms were explained or alluded to in Part 1. Here is a short list of the ramifications.
In a normal world, one could say North Carolina has been brought to our knees. But, no, our fearless “leaders” carry ever onward with their craziness. And they do not care about the many North Carolinians they decimate, either by bigotry or harm to the economy. Their base, after all, is at the ready.