This week the N.C. House of Representatives will send a proposed state budget that approaches $22 billion. Total spending would be about $1 billion more than for the current year, thanks to a $400 million-plus surplus in tax collections and $600 more in federal and miscellaneous revenue. House members want about $400 million added to the Rainy Day fund which is used for emergencies. (Think unforeseen hurricane damages, etc.)
Representative Nelson Dollar, senior appropriations chain, noted that $410 million of the new money supports growth in population and services. Schools are expected to have 17,000 additional pupils, plus there is growth in Medicaid, universities, and correctional inmates.
The budget from the House adds $434.7 million for salaries of teachers and state employees. The starting salary for a new teacher jumps from $33,000 to $35,000. All personnel get a 2 percent hike. Some $168 million is earmarked for economic development.
Tuesday the House appropriations committee was in a marathon session that lasted until 9:30 p.m. as over 100 amendments were voted on and most rejected. On Wednesday, House leaders were “making minor adjustments” to match the revenues as adopted by the Finance Committee with the spending plan.
FINANCE COMMITTEE HAS ITS SAY
This week started with the Finance Committee adopting a state revenue plan for 2015-16. A highlight was a transportation package which raises $300 million in fees and gasoline taxes. North Carolinians will pay more for license renewals, registrations and other services from the Department of Motor Vehicles. Diesel fuel would be taxed at five cents per gallon more than regular gasoline.
Representative John Torbett, chairman of the Transportation Appropriations Committee, noted that DMV charges have not risen in 10 years. He also reported that 80 percent of the new revenue will be used for the resurfacing and maintenance of existing roads and highways throughout the entire state.
The House plan did not include the single-factor sales formula for corporate taxes, but the Senate is fully behind the concept.
WE MADE THE CUT
Operating funds for the Textile Technology Center and the Manufacturing Solutions Center are in the House document which goes to the Senate next week.
CAN WE DO MORE?
There has been suggestions over the more that HTGAC members would benefit from meetings that would pull industry executives and key personnel together. Such meetings could include marketing, legislative, technology, or other areas important to our operations. Bellow in this issue is a questionnaire which will help us determine if this should be explored. Please take a few minutes to give us your input.
To Meet or Not to Meet. That’s the Question
The Hosiery and Textiles Governmental Affairs Council now focuses on lobbying in the North Carolina General Assembly. We’ve been at it for 23 years. Protecting the funds for the Textile Technology Center and the Manufacturing Solutions Center—the engines for our research and development and prototyping—has topped our agenda. This year we added corporate tax reform to the list.
But do you think we should do more? Please answer this survey to give us some direction. Your input really matters.