Raleigh, N.C. — A flurry of activity occurred in the House and the Senate on Thursday, with everything from proposed constitutional amendments and a major bond referendum to Medicaid reform and a rejiggered sales tax plan getting a hearing.
The House gave final approval to putting a $2.85 billion bond package for roads and state infrastructure upgrades to a statewide vote. The referendum would be on the ballot in March 2016, at the same time that North Carolina holds its presidential primary.
Meanwhile, a Senate committee passed three proposed constitutional amendments that also could show up on the ballot next March. A so-called Taxpayer Bill of Rights would limit future growth in state spending, while another amendment would cap the personal and corporate income tax rates at 5 percent and a third would set up a rainy day fund that could be tapped only with super-majority approval of the General Assembly.
A second Senate committee approved a measure that would create an agency to oversee Medicaid and would include a mix of insurers and provider-led groups to manage care and costs.
A third Senate committee altered a proposal to change how sales tax revenue is distributed. An earlier plan called for spreading 80 percent of sales tax money across counties based on population, which is a reversal of the existing system that keeps 75 percent in the county where a purchase is made. After urban counties balked at the change, Senate sponsors suggested splitting the money evenly between where sales occurred and a per-capita distribution.