NEW YEAR AND NO BUDGET

Paul Fogleman,

July 1 and a new budget year for North Carolina government arrived with no new budget. The state Senate sent back to the House a revised revenue and spending plan so radically different that it will be mid-August –if then – when state agencies know what their appropriations will be. Watching the negotiations is Gov. Pat McCrory who holds a veto pen. He has made it clear he is opposed to many provisions in the Senate plan, including the redistribution of sales taxes.

Also in limbo are the public schools administrations. The Senate would lay off over 5,000 teacher assistants and provide more money for additional teachers to reduce classroom size in kindergarten through third grade. The Senate would phase in the single-factor corporate tax formula over a three-year period, but would lower the corporate rate to 3.5 percent. To make up lost revenue, machinery tax would be increased from $80 to $500.

House members are critical of the Senate approach to new taxes, including the sales tax on veterinary services, lawn care, and advertising, to name a few. House Senior Finance Chairman Jason Saine of Lincolnton observed: “If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, then the Senate would tax it.”

GREEN AND GREENER

The Poole Company is rolling out a new textiles product which is reported to biodegrade at least 12 times faster than others on the market. Named Ecosure Bioblast@the household wipes are made from recycled PET bottles. The wipes are made with the first tested and proven fiber to accelerate degradation in an oxygen-deficient environment (landfill), Poole insists.

Ecoslure Bioblast is a polymer-based nonwoven fiber, specifically designed to help break down under anaerobic conditions. Over a one-year period, the biodegradation was 72.5 percent, Poole says.

MSC ECONOMIC IMPACT

NIST, the federal agency that funds the Industrial Expansion Partnership administered by N.C. State University, reported the services of the Manufacturing Solutions Center had an $18.4 million impact on businesses it served during the first quarter of this year.

Companies served by the MSC added 140 jobs and retained an additional 20 as a result of MSC training and research and development programs. Those companies reported to NIST that new products or processes added $4.77 million . Total new investments, including plant equipment, workforce practices and other areas came to $6,987,000.

Surveys of client companies by NIST are made quarterly.

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