August 31, 2015
Legislative Update: Still no budget from Raleigh
By SANDY SEMANS
They came, they talked, they went home.
And that pretty much sums up the past week's activities in the General
Assembly. The few notable actions that occurred happened on Thursday,
the last legislative day of the week, when both chambers passed yet
another continuing resolution to keep government operating without an
approved state budget in place.
The new deadline for hammering out the current fiscal year's spending is Sept. 18.
The week before, the two chambers reached a compromise when they agreed to cap this fiscal year's budget at $21.7 billion.
WRAL reports that on Thursday, Aug. 27, budget negotiators reached an
agreement that all state employees, including teachers will receive a
bonus of $750 near the end of the calendar year. That will be paid from
the $335 million that is being set aside for salary increases.
Teachers, State Highway Patrol officers, court clerks, and magistrates
also will receive the appropriate step increases. Community
college employees and hard-to-fill positions also will see a boost in
House Bill 117,
NC Competes, has been assigned to a conference committee to work out
differences between the original House bill and the Senate version,
which includes the troublesome sales tax redistribution.
The proposed redistribution would allocate 50 percent based on
population and 50 percent based on point-of-sale collections. If made
into law, the new distribution formula would reduce sales tax coming
back to Dare County and the local municipalities by 24 percent.
Under current law, which dictates that 75 percent of the sales tax sent
back to local governments is based on point-of-sale and 25 percent on
population, Dare County is estimated to receive $19.1 million in the
2016-17 fiscal year. Under the new plan, the amount would be reduced to
$14.6 million, which is a $4.6 million cut -- unless the proposal to
expand the sales tax base is approved.
An expansion of the sales tax base, adding tax on such things as auto
repairs and veterinarian bills, would return some of the lost revenue
to counties. With that proposed expansion, estimated sales tax revenues
would be $15.1 million which is a $4 million reduction – 21 percent -
from projections for the same time frame under current law.
The municipalities also would feel the same percentage of reductions under both scenarios.
Since assigning the bill to conference committee, the conferees have been changed twice.
The Senate has concurred with changes made in the House to Senate Bill 15,
Unemployment Insurance Law Changes. The bill, if enacted into law, will
mandate that those receiving unemployment benefits must show proof of
applying for five positions each week. The bill will be forwarded to
the governor next week for his signature.
Semans is a retired newspaper editor and reporter who now works as a
free-lance writer. She lives in Stumpy Point. Her update on the
goings-on in this session of the General Assembly will appear weekly in
The Island Free Press, usually on Friday.)
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Legislative Update: Humor unleashed in the General Assembly
Legislative Update: Lawmakers made hay while the sun was shining
Legislative Update: Bill on dredging causes local turmoil
Legislative Update: 156 new bills filed this week
Legislative Update: Lawmakers keeping busy in Raleigh
Legislative Update: It was raining bills all week
Legislative Update: Occupancy tax provision is out of dredging bill
Legislative Update: Lawmakers take aim at N.C. Constitution
Legislative Update: More taxes and Constitutional amendments proposed
Legislative Update: Lawmakers racing the clock to get bills moved
Legislative Update: Rushing to meet the 'crossover' deadline
Legislative Update: A week of committee work in Raleigh
Legislative update: New taxes for fishermen and new purpose for occupancy taxes
Legislative Update: Bill aims at opportunities for Oregon Inlet Lifesaving Station
Legislative Update: Two days, two vetoes
Legislative Update: Sales tax redistribution bill gets more traction
Legislative update: Sales tax redistribution is back, will still hurt Dare
Legislative Update: Senate passes its version of state budget
Legislative Update: Budget conference committee faces challenges
Legislative Update: Hurry up and wait time in Raleigh
Legislative Update: Open government laws are a mixed bag
Legislative Update: Some bills moving forward, others stuck in committees
Legislative Update: House slows up, while Senate moves full steam ahead
Legislative Update: Work slows to a crawl as lawmakers travel
Legislative update: Sales tax plan proposal scaled back, but still alive
Legislative Update: Missing from Raleigh -- a budget and a senator
Legislative Update: House rejects bill with Senate sales tax plan