Archive for March, 2017

HOSIERY AND TEXTILES DAY IN THE LEGISLATURE—2017

Legislators who attended the breakfast meeting with hosiery and textiles executives last week were still talking about the presentation by the executives of the Textile Technology Center and the Manufacturing Solutions Center. Rep. Billy Richardson of Cumberland County asked for a copy of the presentation which he plans to use in meetings with economic development people in his district.

Most legislators were impressed with job opportunities and the salaries in North Carolina’s growing textiles industry. The transition of the industry to high-tech manufacturing and the need for skilled personnel with education beyond high school was a message that resonated with lawmakers.

MSC BILL CLEARS FIRST HURDLE

A bill that puts in the General Statutes the ability of the Manufacturing Solutions Center to use earned income for expanding and upgrading its services without going through the Division of Purchasing and Contracts was approved this week by the House Committee on Community Colleges. The center has enjoyed this exemption over the past several years by special provisions in the state budget. Dan St. Louis, MSC director, and Paul Fogleman, lobbyist appeared before the committee Tuesday to explain the need for the exemption. The bill was sponsored by Rep. Jay Adams of Hickory. The bill must also clear the Appropriations Committee before going to the full House. A companion bill for Senate consideration has been filed by Sen. Jerry Tillman of Randolph County.

The Textile Technology Center is exempted by Legislation approved three years ago.

NOT IDLING, BUT IN SLOW GEAR

Appropriation committees are still mulling over the recent budget and talk continues about the repeal –or entrenchment—of HB2 which is known as the bathroom bill. But tax reform, 2017-18 budget priorities, infrastructure plans and other high-profile issues are still lurking in the back rooms. Republican bills to expand partisanship in judicial and local elections have been approved. But legislation setting the agenda for the state over the next four to six years has yet to go before lawmakers—in committees or on the floor of the House or Senate.

Advocacy groups pushing non-partisan redistricting, healthcare priorities, increased funding for arts and recreation, and higher salaries for educators have made their way through the halls and into the offices of members. But within the conference rooms, the leaders are maintaining a deliberate pace with budget issues, deregulation and tax reform.

CAP ON CORPORATE TAXES

The Senate Finance Committee this week in a partisan vote approved a bill for a constitutional amendment to cap corporate income taxes at 5.5 percent. Most Democrats opposed the bill on the grounds that future legislatures would be limited in case of a state crisis. Last year a similar bill was defeated in the House after then State Treasurer Janet Cowell warned the state’s credit rating could be lowered.

BUDGET WORK MOVES ALONG

The major undertaking for the General Assembly each year is the plan for spending almost $25 billion in tax revenue, most of which comes from personal tax and sales taxes. This year, the process starts with Senators. The recommended budget from Gov. Roy Cooper was evaluated by joint committees with little comment. But the final draft which will be adopted around July 1 after House members and Senate leaders have come to a decision will be quite different. Republican legislators are not likely to adopt recommendations from a Democrat governor.

Funds for the industry’s research and testing centers seem to be secure at this time. Jointly, they receive about $1.8 million. Strong industry support for fulltime lobbying has resulted in bipartisan support among lawmakers.

STAGE IS SET FOR LEGISLATIVE DAY

Participants at the annual Legislative Day for hosiery and textiles executives and their suppliers will receive a special presentation on a new tax formula for taxing manufacturing. Rep. Jason Saine of Lincoln County, senior finance committee chairman, has arranged to discuss Market Based Sourcing which links taxation to location of the plants, the percentage of manufacturing in North Carolina and the percentage of out-of-state sales. The issue will play an important role in tax reform legislation this year.

Visits have been scheduled with legislators from districts where hosiery and textiles manufacturing are prominent. This will follow a breakfast meeting in the Legislative Cafeteria where lawmakers will meet our group and hear a presentation from top officials from the Advanced Functional Fabrics of America which is managing a textiles manufacturing initiative funded by the Department of Defense.

Legislators are supported the Manufacturing Solutions Center and Textile Technology Center in a bid to attract a Fabric Discovery Center to North Carolina.

Registration of industry representatives is still open. We will assembly at the Holiday Inn Capitol in Raleigh on Tuesday, March 14 in time for dinner. A bloc of rooms at the Holiday Inn with a $104 rate is available until Monday, March 13. People will pay for their dinner and drinks. National Spinning Corp. is our breakfast host. Please notify Paul Fogleman at pfogleman@informinc.net if you will attend.