Today @NCCapitol (May 13, 2015): Top leaders talk economic development

Posted May 13, 2015

NC Flag, Legislative Building, Raleigh

— Good morning and welcome to Today @NCCapitol for Wednesday, May 13. Here's what's going on at the General Assembly and elsewhere in state government.

MISFIRE? At the close of business Tuesday, the state House had scheduled a 9 a.m. Rules Committee meeting to handle a controversial firearms bill. However, by early evening, the chamber had canceled the meeting after a protracted Republican House Caucus meeting.

WISH LISTS: Gov. Pat McCrory, House Speaker Tim Moore and Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger spoke to the North Carolina Chamber's lobby day on Tuesday. While none of them broke huge news, each dropped a nugget or two worth noting.

MCCRORY: The governor used the bulk of his time with business leaders to pitch the $3 billion in bonds he has proposed borrowing in order pay for road and building improvements. But he did say after lunch with Berger and Moore there was agreement to push ahead with a long-delayed economic development package.

MOORE: The speaker took note of the massive $200 million set of incentives that South Carolina used to lure Volvo to building a manufacturing plant there. Referring to the House-passed economic development bill, Moore said it "wouldn't have been enough to match that."

BERGER: Berger was maybe the most forthcoming of the trio, giving insight into both plans for an economic development package and the state budget.

"We plan to responsibly expand our job recruitment program," Berger said, saying that his chamber would in the next few weeks take up "a comprehensive economic development policy."

As for the budget, Berger said that he hopes to continue pursuing tax reform measures, including lowering personal income taxes and driving toward a method of taxing businesses known as "single sales factor," which is particularly advantageous for manufacturers.

Regarding spending, Berger said he would like to drive the state's rainy day fund up to $1 billion and set aside $350 million needed for the transition to managed care for the Medicaid program.

THE HOUSE: Members of the state House will meet at 2 p.m. As of Tuesday evening, the only bill on its calendar is a final vote on a property insurance reform measure, which passed the House 117-0 on Tuesday.

THE SENATE: Of the bills on the 2 p.m. Senate calendar, the most notable is the Jim Fulghum Teen Skin Cancer Prevention Act, which would ban anyone under age 18 from using a tanning bed. The bill has already passed the state House and moved through committee Tuesday with the blessing of top Senate leaders.

THE COMMITTEE WE'RE WATCHING: The General Assembly publishes a full committee calendar every day. Among the committees we're watching is Senate Transportation at 11 a.m., which will examine a bill calling for a study of penalties for speeding in work zones and a package of changes meant to help farmers.


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