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PayPal Cancels Plans for 400 Jobs in Charlotte Over HB 2

Diedra Laird
Charlotte Observer
John McCabe, left, senior vice-president of Global Operations at PayPal, holds up a wooden bowl (made by an artist from a tree struck by lightning outside the state capitol), presented to him by Gov. Pat McCrory on March 18.

Two weeks ago,  PayPal announced Charlotte would be home to a new global operations center. On Tuesday, the company canceled those expansion plans. The reason: House Bill 2, which the legislature passed and the governor signed March 23.  

PayPal had expected to bring some 400 tech sector jobs to Charlotte with an average salary just shy of $51,000.

It was a big get for the Governor and the city to land such a big name company to Charlotte after PayPal conducted a nationwide search for the site. Governor Pat McCrory was all smiles when making the announcement.

"North Carolina is on fire right now regarding job creation and Charlotte is leading the way," McCrory said, as captured by WSOC-TV.

Two weeks later, that fire seems to have gone out, thanks to HB 2

HB 2 reversed the Charlotte City Council's adoption in February of a revised non-discrimination ordinance, which expanded protections to LGBT people.  The bill, approved in a one-day special session, also prohibits cities and towns from adopting their own minimum wages and limits the ability of people to sue in state court over discrimination. 

In a press release Tuesday morning, PayPal CEO Dan Schulman says "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."

He adds “Our decision is a clear and unambiguous one.” And that they regret that they will not have “the opportunity to be a part of the Charlotte community.”

PayPal is now seeking an alternative location for it operations center.

Schulman has also signed onto a letter calling on the Governor and General Assembly to repeal HB 2, one of more than 100 CEO’s and top executives to do so.

PayPal is the most high profile business to pull out of North Carolina because of the law. But it’s not alone. Movie and television studios have also said they will not film in the state so long as HB 2 is on the books. And last week, Google’s venture capital arm announced it will not fund startups in North Carolina until HB 2 is repealed.

10:40 a.m

PayPal  is canceling plans for a new operations center in Charlotte because of House Bill 2.

“This decision reflects PayPal’s deepest values and our strong belief that every person has the right to be treated equally, and with dignity and respect. These principles of fairness, inclusion and equality are at the heart of everything we seek to achieve and stand for as a company. And they compel us to take action to oppose discrimination,” PayPal CEO Dan Schulman said in a press release.

Governor McCrory attended the March 18th announcement of PayPal’s expansion. Lawmakers passed HB 2 five days later. The company planned to hire 400 people by 2020.

This is a developing story. We will be updating throughout the day. Here’s Schulman’s statement in its entirety.

Tom Bullock decided to trade the khaki clad masses and traffic of Washington DC for Charlotte in 2014. Before joining WFAE, Tom spent 15 years working for NPR. Over that time he served as everything from an intern to senior producer of NPR’s Election Unit. Tom also spent five years as the senior producer of NPR’s Foreign Desk where he produced and reported from Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen, Haiti, Egypt, Libya, Lebanon among others. Tom is looking forward to finally convincing his young daughter, Charlotte, that her new hometown was not, in fact, named after her.