Old North State Report - February 17, 2017
It's the Senate's turn this year to go first in drafting a two-year budget proposal. The House will then approve their version. Republicans from both chambers ultimately will craft a compromise which they'll send to Democratic Governor Roy Cooper. In preparation for this process, the Joint Appropriations Committee met this week to hear about the availability of state revenue:
Governor Roy Cooper offered what he called a "common-sense compromise" to repeal last year’s House Bill 2, but it quickly drew fire from the law's supporters. Cooper called for repeal coupled with stricter penalties for bathroom crimes and a requirement for cities to notify lawmakers 30 days before adopting any non-discrimination ordinance. He said it was "urgent" to repeal the law, citing the expected NCAA deadline for selecting venues for championship events for the next six years. Senate Republican Leader Phil Berger dismissed what he called Cooper's "so-called compromise” as insufficient to address security and privacy concerns. Democratic legislative leaders introduced the Governor’s proposal:
Senate Republican leaders are trying again to cap personal income taxes by amending the state’s constitution. They filed legislation to ban lawmakers from raising the income tax rate higher than 5.5 percent if voters approve the constitutional amendment in a ballot referendum, which would be held during the November 2018 election. Currently, the constitution caps income tax rates at 10 percent, and the current personal income tax rate is 5.499 percent – so the amendment would essentially prevent any future tax hikes.
As they have done previously in recent years, the House approved legislation by a 104-9 vote to place a constitutional amendment on next year’s ballot that would limit the use of eminent domain to “public use” and not “private benefit” projects:
The House also passed unanimously a bill allowing school districts’ average class size to exceed targets by up to three students and allows individual classrooms to exceed the target size by up to six students, if needed. This legislation helps avoid an unintended consequence of last year’s budget by allowing school districts more spending flexibility:
The articles published in this newsletter are intended only to provide general information on the subjects covered. The contents should not be construed as legal advice or a legal opinion. Readers should consult with legal counsel to obtain specific legal advice based on particular situations.