According to Equality North Carolina, the states foremost advocate for equality matters, the proposed anti-gay constitutional amendment would make it difficult for North Carolina to attract top firms and corporations; thus having a negative economic impact on a state which has an unemployment rate of 10.1%. In a statement provided to EqualityNC, the Senior Vice President of Finance, Membership and Operations at the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA), Anthony J. Pugliese, made it clear that this amendment is bad for business and the states national competitiveness,
"The proposed amendment is bad for business. It interferes with our ability to recruit talent and our right to provide competitive benefits to our employees. It also signals to major employers like ours that our state is not welcoming to the diverse, creative workforce that we need to compete in the global economy. It’s also bad for future business development in the state as we seek top grow our tax base. It is very unlikely we would have ever relocated our global headquarters to the Triangle and hired 450 local employees in 2006 if this amendment had been the law."Mr. Pugliese's comments echo a theory of economics developed by Dr. Richard Florida of the University of Toronto; a theory which asserts that any region or city which desires to flourish economically must attract what is known as the "Creative Class". This "creative class" of entrepreneurs and business-people are the drivers of a regions research potential, innovation, and economic growth. In his book The Rise of the Creative Class, Florida argues that for a city to attract this "creative class" of individuals, it must posses the three "T"'s: Talent (an educated, skilled workforce), Tolerance (an atmosphere where individuals, regardless of sexual orientation, race, and gender feel welcome), and Technology.
But others disagree with Mr. Pugliese's analysis of the impact that the anti-gay constitutional amendment will have upon North Carolina's business climate. Backers of the proposed amendment assert that states which have enacted similar prohibitions (such as neighboring Tennessee and Virginia) have not experienced any decrease in economic growth or seen an unwillingness for businesses to locate in their respective states.
But Andrew Spainhour, the general counsel for the Greensboro based firm, Replacements Ltd, does not see how this could be the case. In an interview with the Houston Chronicle, he challenges this assumption by amendment backers, saying,
"How can we say we take economic development seriously when we propose an anti-gay campaign that runs contrary to the employment practices of a majority of Fortune 500 companies?"