Tag Archives: investors

Investors representing $2.1 trillion join call to repeal anti-LGBT law

Some 60 investors representing $2.1 trillion in managed assets joined the NCAA, entertainers and more than 200 businesses in calling for North Carolina to repeal its law limiting LGBT protections against discrimination.

“While the U.S. economy continues to grow, quite frankly North Carolina appears to be headed for what I would call a state-government-inflicted recession,” said Matt Patsky, chief executive officer of Trillium Asset Management. Trillium has more than $2 billion in assets under management.

Patsky spoke this week at a news conference alongside some of the investors who signed a statement calling for repeal of the law known as HB2. Trillium was one of the organizers of the statement, along with environmental research group Croatan Institute and the New York City comptroller, Scott Stringer. Stringer was unable to attend because of a New York ban on travel to North Carolina, Patsky said.

“As long-term investors, we can’t sit idly by as HB2 undermines fundamental human rights at our expense,” Stringer said in the statement. “For the last 25 years, New York City’s pension funds have pushed more than 100 companies to enact non-discrimination policies that protect LGBTQ individuals and ensure they attract, retain, and promote the best and the brightest. These policies are essential if we want companies — and our economy — to succeed, and we can’t let a hate-filled law get in the way.”

State legislators were enraged when the Charlotte City Council passed an ordinance expanding protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. During a one-day special session in March, Republicans passed a state law that blocks any municipality from expanding protections against sexual discrimination in public accommodations to LGBT people and ordered public schools and universities to ensure that students use restrooms corresponding to the sex on their birth certificates.

Earlier this month, Gov. Pat McCrory and GOP legislators offered to consider rescinding the law, but only if the Democrats who pushed for Charlotte’s ordinance would essentially admit they were wrong, something the council hasn’t done.

Meanwhile, the NBA pulled its All-Star Game from Charlotte. The NCAA earlier this month took the unprecedented step of pulling seven championship events from the state over its objection to the law. Two days later, the ACC did the same thing — relocating all 10 of its neutral-site championships from the state the conference has called home since its founding in 1953.

Performers including Bruce Springsteen, Pearl Jam and Maroon 5 canceled concerts in North Carolina, and more than 200 business leaders signed a letter to McCrory. The Williams Institute, which is part of the UCLA School of Law, has said HB2 could cost the state as much as $5 billion in lost federal funding and business investment.

“This latest attack on North Carolina values is being coordinated by the same people who manage the New York City pension fund that is on the verge of an ‘operational failure,’ according to a recent report,” McCrory said in a statement released by his campaign. “For New York hedge fund billionaires to lecture North Carolina about how to conduct its affairs is the height of hypocrisy.

McCrory is seeking re-election in a campaign against Democratic Attorney General Roy Cooper, who opposes the law.

Some clients are seeking “North Carolina-free portfolios,” including divestment of municipal bonds, Patsky said, and he expects that number to grow if the law isn’t repealed.

Those who signed the letter include representatives of North Carolina-based groups such as Investors’ Circle and the Mary Babcock Reynolds Foundation. Others who signed are from Morgan Stanley Investment Management, John Hancock Investments and RBC Wealth Management.

“This fallout is real,” said Bonny Moellenbrock, executive director of Investors Circle, which she said has invested $200 million in more than 330 start-ups. “It has had a devastating impact on our reputation and that has a direct impact on entrepreneurs’ ability to grow their business here.”

Federal tax code change will help live theater nationwide

Live commercial theater from Broadway to Los Angeles is about to get a huge financial boost under a federal tax code change that’s been championed by U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer and such stars as Neil Patrick Harris and Bryan Cranston.

Under a new tax package, Broadway and live theater productions will be given the same benefits that have long been afforded to TV and film productions.

Now, like small and large screen projects, live theater and concert productions would get up to $15 million in tax credits if they spent at least 75 percent of their budgets in the U.S. The new rule would apply for productions starting after Dec. 31.

“This is the biggest shot in the arm that Broadway and live performance has had in a long time,” Schumer, a Democrat from New York, said by phone. “It’s a very fair rule. It says: ‘Treat live performance the same as you treat movies.’”

Broadway and off-Broadway producer Ken Davenport, who has urged the theatrical community to push for the measure, celebrated its imminent passage.

“Half the reason I’m happy is that it’s just another sign that people are paying more attention to Broadway as a significant part of the economic driver in this country,” said Davenport, who has helped produce such shows as Kinky Boots, Spring Awakening and Allegiance.

The change is part of the Protecting Americans From Tax Hikes Act of 2015, a package of more than $600 billion in tax breaks for businesses, investors and families.

Schumer, who has been working on the tax break for four years, said the change would create “thousands and thousands” more jobs for actors and backstage workers, and produce more shows nationwide, helping hotel, restaurant and taxi industries. He noted that other countries also grant live theater similar breaks, especially in London, which has been luring away American productions.

Schumer said he expected the measure will help both Broadway producers —since they’ll be able to deduct their expenses up front — and investors, who won’t have to pay taxes on profits they haven’t made yet. The measure was co-sponsored by Sen. Roy Blunt, a Republican of Missouri.

Last year, the New York senator was joined by Harris, Cranston, Tyne Daly and producer Harvey Weinstein, as well as cast members from The Phantom of the Opera, Newsies and Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella. They all urged passage of the bill, saying it would enable theater producers to take more chances.

“It will help small theater production even more than large, but it will help both,” Schumer said. “I obviously care about Broadway — it’s a major New York industry — but it’s good for the whole country.”

The backers of the change pointed out that the benefits go far beyond New York, where Broadway box offices earned $1.36 billion last season. In the 2012–2013 theater season — the most recent year for which data is available — some 45 touring Broadway shows performed for more than 14 million theatergoers, contributing almost $3.2 billion to the U.S. economy.

“Broadway has a ripple effect through the rest of the country. If Broadway’s booming, then the touring houses are booming. It’s one of our greatest exports, in my opinion. And that business has been growing tremendously over the last 10, 20 years — U.S.-created Broadway entertainment going everywhere from South Korea to Australia. Russia, Sweden and all these countries,” said Davenport.

“It’s a huge business and I think they finally said, ‘Wow, this is significant and we need to treat them with respect and to make sure that people like me still do it.’ It gets harder and harder to produce on Broadway. Every year, it gets just a wee bit harder,” he added. “I’m glad people are starting to say, ‘We can’t lose this business.’”