Raleigh, N.C. — A miniature horse, tractors, a guy in a chicken suit and officials from scores of cities statewide inundated the legislature Wednesday as part of lobbying efforts by agriculture interests and the North Carolina League of Municipalities.
Amid the "Town & Country" show, the Senate rolled out its economic development bill, calling for lowering corporate income tax rates to 3 percent by 2017 and shifting to a new formula that would tax companies based only on their in-state sales. The proposal also would remake an incentive program to better distribute state funds across North Carolina.
Gov. Pat McCrory quickly blasted the bill, saying it would cost the state too much money and breaks a promise to wait for more changes to the tax system until the state met certain revenue targets.
A Senate committee passed a bill filed Tuesday that would allow a group of eastern North Carolina cities issue $600 million in bonds to refinance their remaining debt after unloading their stakes in power plants to Duke Energy in a $1.2 billion deal. Democrats and Republicans praised the bill, saying it would lower residents' power bills and could make the area more attractive for businesses.
Meanwhile, a House committee defeated a proposal to keep the names of lottery winners confidential. Opponents said the lottery needs to be transparent about how prizes are awarded, and lottery officials said publicizing winners helps fight fraud.