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PayPal Cancels NC Expansion Over HB2

Gov. McCrory Office

Two weeks after announcing plans to open a new global operations center in Charlotte, PayPal has announced it will move the facility to another state.

In a release, PayPal CEO Dan Schulman cited North Carolina’s recent passage of HB2.

"The new law perpetuates discrimination and it violates the values and principles that are at the core of PayPal’s mission and culture. As a result, PayPal will not move forward with our planned expansion into Charlotte."

The expansion would have brought 400 high-paying jobs to the state, and the company had pledged to invest around $3.6 million.

Republican legislators have maintained that HB2 improves the state’s discrimination law, and that corporations such as PayPal are misinterpreting it.

"Our decision is a clear and unambiguous one,” said Schulman in the release. “But we do regret that we will not have the opportunity to be a part of the Charlotte community and to count as colleagues the skilled and talented people of the region. As a company that is committed to the principle that everyone deserves to live without fear of discrimination simply for being who they are, becoming an employer in North Carolina, where members of our teams will not have equal rights under the law, is simply untenable."

Reaction to the decision was swift. Democratic lawmakers called for another special session to repeal HB2, while others cited the PayPal decision as a harbinger of things to come.

"PayPal’s announcement that it’s taking 400 jobs out of Charlotte makes it clear as day that HB2 is dangerous and harmful legislation,” said Chris Sgro, Executive Director of Equality NC. “Governor McCrory and Senator Berger are willfully hurting North Carolina with HB2. The Governor and our North Carolina General Assembly leadership must immediately make it clear that their intentions are to repeal HB2 when they will meet for session on April 25th. This is a must if we are to remain an economically competitive state."

While Gov. McCrory and Sen. Berger had no immediate comments, supporters of HB2 were critical of PayPal.

"PayPal has announced its expansion into Cuba, presumably because doing business with a country with horrid human rights infringements makes more sense to them than doing business in a state that believes it to be common sense to protect women and children by keeping men out of women’s bathrooms, showers, and locker rooms," said Tami Fitzgerald with the North Carolina Values Coalition. "Consumers should be wary of such a company."

Dave DeWitt is WUNC's Supervising Editor for Politics and Education. As an editor, reporter, and producer he's covered politics, environment, education, sports, and a wide range of other topics.
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