Tampa mayor invites PayPal to city after North Carolina controversy

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TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn wants PayPal to locate its global operations center here. Buckhorn is jumping on an opportunity created when PayPal decided not to locate its center in North Carolina because of a new law.

The law is known as the “Bathroom Bill.” It requires transgender people to use the bathroom assigned to their biological sex.

PayPal CEO Dan Schulman issued the following statement:

“The legislation recently enacted by the State of North Carolina that denies the equal rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender citizens violates the values and principles that are at the core of PayPal’s mission and culture. PayPal will not move forward with our planned expansion into Charlotte. 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.”

Charlotte Mayor Jennifer Roberts isn’t happy with the law. “This has a real impact on Charlotte families and North Carolina families,” Roberts said.

Roberts and the city council in February approved giving gay residents expanded legal protections and transgender residents the ability to use the restroom conforming with their gender identity.

“I urge the state to take responsibility for its harmful actions and to listen to its business constituency and quickly find a legislative remedy to HB2 before more jobs are lost,” the mayor told the Charlotte Observer.

North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory isn’t backing down. “I’m going to respect people who disagree with our basic commonsense rules,” McCrory said.

Seeing an opening, Buckhorn sent out a tweet inviting PayPal to locate to Tampa. “It’s an open invitation and it’s a shot across the bow of North Carolina, that if you are going to treat gay people as second class citizens, my city does not,” Buckhorn said.

So far, PayPal has not responded to the invitation.

St. Pete mayor also reaches out to North Carolina businesses

St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman also reached out to North Carolina businesses. A letter from Kriseman was published in the Observer.

“As mayor of St. Petersburg, I am sending the message to businesses looking to relocate that our community respects and protects the dignity and basic rights of all who live, work and play in our city,” the mayor writes.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 


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