The Philadelphia Commerce Department has reached out to PayPal inviting the online payment platform to the city, according to City Councilman Mark Squilla, who sponsored a resolution this month encouraging that company and other LGBT-supportive businesses to move to Philadelphia.
“I don’t know if that will correlate to them moving here,” Squilla told PGN. “We just thought, seeing what North Carolina had done and feeling we believe that’s a discriminatory act, we’d like to encourage companies to be aligned with a place that is more inclusive.”
Squilla said cities that promote inclusion tend to enjoy strong economies.
“Look at the LGBT chamber of commerce here, which is a huge draw to our region,” he said in reference to the Independence Business Alliance. “It’s a major boost to our economy. People are more likely to want to stay in a place where they can live in peace and harmony. That leads to growth in the city.”
North Carolina held a special legislative session in March to pass a bill that prohibits municipalities from passing LGBT-inclusive nondiscrimination ordinances and requires people to use the bathroom that corresponds to the gender on their birth certificates. It also prohibits anyone from suing in state court for a discrimination claim.
In the wake of the law, PayPal withdrew its plan to open a global operations center in Charlotte. The move would’ve brought 400 new jobs to the city, but PayPal said it would instead look outside North Carolina for the expansion.
The office of Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney confirmed that the Commerce Department “has engaged with a number of companies in North Carolina and Mississippi that are considering relocating as a result of the legislation recently passed.”
The Mississippi law allows people to cite religious beliefs as a legal reason to fire gay or transgender people or deny them services.
The mayor’s office said discussions are in early stages with companies the city has engaged with.
“We cannot comment on specific companies or organizations in order to respect the confidentiality of the businesses and potential negotiations,” the mayor’s office wrote in an email to PGN.