Today@NCCapitol (May 4): Education, appointments, tax bills on agenda

Posted May 4, 2016

This is a shot of the entrance area to the N.C. Legislative Building.

— Good morning and welcome to Today@NCCapitol for Wednesday, May 4. Here's what's going on at the General Assembly and around state government:

EDUCATION: The North Carolina State Board of Education is scheduled to meet Wednesday and Thursday. Board members on Wednesday will get a report on the five-year building and facility needs faced by school districts around the state, estimated to total $8.06 billion.

BRIEFING (2:30 p.m.): State Superintendent June Atkinson and key Department of Public Instruction staff will talk about proposed changes to high school math standards at the Education Building.

TEACHERS (10 a.m.): House Democrats will use a news conference to call for $39 million in surplus lottery funds to be set aside to pay off teacher loans. Gov. Pat McCrory set aside the same money in his budget for textbooks and technology.

WOMEN (10 a.m.): NC Women United, a left-leaning advocacy group, releases a report card on laws affecting women.

WRAL.com will carry this news conference live online.

SENATE (2 p.m.): The state Senate will vote to approve Robert Schurmeier as new SBI chief.

HOUSE (2:30 p.m.): The state House will hold a final vote on changes to the state law. Senate Bill 726 would, among other things, continue to "de-couple" North Carolina from the federal tax law on whether to count mortgage debt that is forgiven as income. Current federal law does not tax homeowners on that kind of debt forgiveness. Current North Carolina law does and would continue to under this bill.

The House tentatively approved the measure on a 67-42 vote Tuesday.

"There are many, many people who are still caught up in the mortgage crisis," said Rep. Paul Luebke, D-Durham, advocating against the bill.

Luebke and other Democrats argue that it makes little sense to charge people more in taxes if they had just been forced to sell their home in a short sale or lost it in a foreclosure.

Republican leaders, including Rep. Bill Brawley, R-Mecklenburg, point out this is the same position the state took last year, so nothing is really changing.

Rep. Jeff Collins, R-Nash, said that he had paid off his house, but if he were to sell it now, he would take a loss compared to what he paid in the 1990s.

"Nobody is going to give me a tax break on that loss," Collins said, arguing the state shouldn't give people a tax break because they had taken a bad risk.

If members approve the bill as-is again on Wednesday, it will go to Gov. Pat McCrory for his signature or veto.

WRAL.com will carry this meeting live online.


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