Buncombe County might've just lost 500 jobs to HB2

Outside the Buncombe County Administration building in downtown Asheville on April 8. A post written by the president and CEO of the Asheville Chamber of Commerce, Kit Cramer, said that a technology company that was going to bring hundreds of jobs to Buncombe County refuses to put any more money into North Carolina until HB2 is addressed.

BUNCOMBE COUNTY, N.C. -- North Carolina cities and counties continue to feel the effects of House Bill 2 since it was signed into law.

Buncombe County learned within the last 24 hours that it could lose big economically because of HB2.

According to the Asheville Chamber of Commerce, the county might have just lost hundreds of jobs.

"We've been working on a project that would bring 500 good-paying technology jobs to Buncombe County. The site selector called us yesterday to say that while they loved Asheville, they loved our team, and loved their last visit here, the company's CEO has said that not another dime would be spent on expansion in North Carolina until HB2 is addressed."

That post was written by the president and CEO of the Chamber, Kit Cramer, following a legislative luncheon Friday afternoon.

"There is one element of HB2 that we should all agree upon: Discrimination, in any form, is not acceptable, and it's bad for business. It's not acceptable in Asheville. It's not acceptable in Western North Carolina and it's not acceptable in our state."

Buncombe County Commission Chairman David Gantt says he also does not support HB2 and the things it has already done in statewide.

Gantt experienced the anger and passion in those directly impacted at this week's commission meeting.

"And it's not about bathrooms. That's just a smoke screen. This is about discrimination and the business community is not fouled by this, and that's why they're turning their backs on North Carolina," Gantt said. "This is the wrong thing to do. People do not want discrimination to be legitimized and that's what this bill did."

The bill's passing has managed to hurt the mountains in a way that Gantt says we can't afford. He's urging that the North Carolina General Assembly reverse itself.

"To lose jobs because of a political misstep is disgraceful," Gantt said. "We are in a situation where that can make the difference between people being able to stay here and have a good job, be able to make a good living, afford housing, have a good place to retire when they're through working, and we just can't afford this."

Gantt doesn't know either, but what he does know is an aftereffect we won't see.

"The real hidden cost of this is the people that won't even consider North Carolina, Asheville, or anywhere else in North Carolina," Gantt said. "And that's lost jobs, that's lost opportunities, that's sales tax, that's property tax.

News 13 could not get a hold of anyone with the Chamber to ask what company might not bring those 500 technology jobs to Buncombe County.

Related links:
Malaprop's manager pens open letter, pleads with authors to not cancel events
UNC Asheville ordered to comply with HB2
Bruce Springsteen cancels North Carolina show over controversial anti-LGBT law
Author cancels Asheville event because of HB2

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