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How AP tallied the cost of North Carolina's "bathroom bill"

Associated Press logo Associated Press 3/27/2017 By The Associated Press

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — The Associated Press used dozens of interviews and multiple public records requests to determine that North Carolina's "bathroom bill" will cost the state more than $3.76 billion in lost business over a dozen years.

This is how the largest elements were compiled and used:

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PAYPAL

A state Commerce Department analysis shows officials expected a planned Charlotte PayPal operations center to contribute more than $200 million annually to the state's gross domestic product — an overall measure of the economy. By the end of 2028, the state expected PayPal to have added more than $2.66 billion overall to the state economy, according to the March 2, 2016, analysis.

But shortly after House Bill 2 was enacted, PayPal CEO Dan Schulman announced the company was backing out of the 400-job plan because of the law.

The fiscal cost-benefit analysis model has been used for more than a decade when the state offers major discretionary tax breaks to attract jobs. The Job Development Investment Grant program can provide incentives for up to 12 years under state law — so the analyses are often done for that length of time. A recent annual report on the incentive program shows it's not uncommon for the state to estimate that a company could add billions to the economy over the grant's life.

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DEUTSCHE BANK

Using the same model, the Commerce Department estimated that a Deutsche Bank project in Cary would pump about $47 million annually into the economy once fully staffed at 250 jobs in 2017. The September 2015 analysis predicted a total impact of about $543 million by the end of 2027. But the company announced it was halting plans because of the law.

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COSTAR

The AP used figures from North Carolina and Virginia to conclude that CoStar's decision not to put its facility in Charlotte will cost North Carolina at least $250 million.

When CoStar announced in October 2016 that it had picked Virginia for a research center employing 732 people, that state said the project's economic impact would be $250 million based on payroll, capital investments and other factors. That number is consistent with planning documents from North Carolina that projected the company to bring the same number of jobs — average salary, around $57,000. State economic planners expected a capital investment of $24 million, so its impact would've exceeded $250 million in the first half-dozen years.

Officials said they didn't run the wider-ranging 12-year analysis that was used for Deutsche Bank and Paypal.

CoStar's CEO had recommended Charlotte to his board and was preparing for final negotiations for a site there when the board backed out because of negative publicity over the law, according to a September 2016 email exchange between Charlotte Chamber of Commerce and city officials.

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VOXPRO

The AP analysis valued Voxpro's decision not to come to the state at about $52 million based on figures from North Carolina and an interview with the CEO.

The company was in negotiations to bring hundreds of call-center jobs to the Raleigh area, but chose not to because of the law, founder and CEO Dan Kiely said in an interview. The company chose Athens, Georgia; Kiely said the company will employ 500 there.

North Carolina's Commerce Department projected annual wages around $29,000 for 2016-20. The project was expected to create 230 jobs in the last quarter of 2016, according to state documents. The AP used 230 jobs over three months for its 2016 calculations, and the same headcount for 2017.

Kiely said the company would have ramped up hiring in 2017 to bring 500 jobs to the North Carolina site. The AP used the 500-job figure for the years 2018, 2019 and 2020; that's consistent with the company's expectation for staffing to reach 500 workers at the Georgia site before 2020.

North Carolina officials said they didn't run the wider-ranging, 12-year analysis that was used for Deutsche Bank and Paypal.

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ADIDAS

The AP used figures from North Carolina and Georgia to compute a value of about $67 million for the decision by Adidas not to choose North Carolina for a factory.

The shoe and apparel company was considering a High Point site and visited about a week before the law passed, according to state economic development emails. They show that soon after the law passed, a top Adidas executive sought a meeting with Commerce Secretary John Skvarla to discuss the law's implications. By late June, North Carolina Economic Development Partnership recruiter Evan Stone bemoaned that the company's "site location decision is imminent, and High Point was the preferred site but is being rejected solely on the basis of recent legislation."

The AP calculation started with North Carolina officials' estimate that Adidas would've made a capital investment of $35 million, according to emails. To estimate yearly payroll, the AP used the 160 jobs it's bringing to Georgia with an average salary of about $40,000. That payroll number was multiplied by five years — a time period commonly used for projections during early rounds of negotiations with state officials.

North Carolina officials said they didn't run the wider-ranging 12-year analysis that was used for Deutsche Bank and PayPal.

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SPORTS, CONVENTIONS, CONCERTS

The AP conducted more than a dozen interviews and email exchanges with tourism officials and planners to determine the state lost more than $196 million from sporting events, conventions, concerts and other events. Cities researched include: Asheville, Charlotte, Greensboro, Raleigh, Manteo, Wilmington, Durham and Fayetteville.

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