It wasn’t the fat lady that sang as the 2015 General Assembly came to a close this (Wednesday} morning. Rather the closing song came from the duet of Senators Jerry Tillman, Republican and Mike Woodard, Democrat, who belted out the “Long Black Veil” as the curtain came down shortly after 4 a.m. House and Senate leaders spent hours on a “Technical Corrections” bill that added new language—and in some cases policies—to bills approved earlier in the session. Such bills have become a tradition at the close of sessions over the past few years. Most notably, this year’s bill slammed the brakes on legislative mandates to local cities and counties which have been targeted in several redistricting initiatives.
Tuesday was a frantic day with the House and Senate in and out of committee meetings and sessions.
By midnight, some lawmakers were giddy with fatigue after putting in a 19-hour day.
We will be watching meetings of Legislative study committees over the next six months. A provision in a last minute bill calls for the Revenue Laws Study Committee to study the $80 cap on the privilege tax that manufacturers pay on mill machinery. An earlier Senate budget proposal had raised that cap to $500 per machine.
Funds for the Manufacturing Solutions Center and the Textile Technology Center are secure for this year. As the work load increases with the return of manufacturing, we will be building a case for additional funding to support research, prototyping, testing, training, and other services critical to the success of fiber, textiles, hosiery, furniture and other companies.
FULL SPEED AHEAD
In two months, filing opens for 2016 candidates for state and local offices. While the electorate will be in the rush of Christmas shopping, legislative candidates will be plotting campaigns for the shortest election season in memory culminating with a March 15 primary (also the earliest on record). January and February will see intense fund-raising. And this brings us to HOSEPAC.
Over the years the hosiery and textiles manufacturers have enjoyed the support of representatives and senators who have worked hard on our behalf. They have introduced bills, sponsored appropriations, and authored provisions to keep the centers functioning. They spend thousands of dollars to get elected. It’s our turn: think HOSEPAC, our Political Action Committee. We need personal contributions from executives to demonstrate our appreciation and support of their campaigns.
Personal checks should be written to HOSEPAC. Mail them to P.O Box 1708 Hickory NC, 28601. These legislators have invested their time and energy in our centers and our industries. We need to invest in them. Just this year our work on tax relief has saved each company thousands of dollars.