TEXTILES EXPANSION

Paul Fogleman,

Carolina Nonwovens, a subsidiary of National Spinning Co. in Washington NC, has announced expansion of its operations in Maiden NC. The plant in Catawba County makes nonwoven fabrics of various thicknesses used to replace foam in outdoor cushions and bedding, noise-dampening insulation in automobiles and numerous other industrial applications.

Carolina Nonwovens said it will invest $12.2 million in capital improvements and add 35 persons to its workforce. The company qualifies for incentives from the One North Carolina Fund and also will receive local incentives.

STATE BUDGET HEADED TO CONFERENCE

The North Carolina Senate voted along partisan lines to approve its version of a $24 billion biennial budget which differs significantly from the plan initiated by the House. A long, hot summer seems to be ahead for the General Assembly.

Senators want North Carolina to put more teachers in the classrooms with fewer students in grades 1-3 and kindergarten. But there would be fewer teacher assistants. Teachers would get salary increases, as would most state employees, some getting “market-based” pay hikes. Community colleges got a $5 million boost, most for salary hikes for instructors. Other Senate priorities include $800 million to boost the Rainy Day Fund to $1.2 billion and an end to transfers to the General Fund from the highway trust fund.

The Senate revenue proposal for the budget will also be a challenge to House conferees. By 2018 counties will surrender 80 percent of their sales taxes to the state and for distribution to other counties on a per capita basis. The money from redistribution can only be used for public education and community colleges. The Senate then would authorize those counties losing revenue to increase the local sales tax in quarter-cent increments. A separate election must be held for each quarter-cent.

Other highlights: the single-sales formula for manufacturers to calculate corporate taxes would be phased in over three years; personal income tax deductions would be capped at $20,000, including medical expenses, church pledges, contributions to non-profits, and arts organizations. Hospitals would lose sales tax exemptions and the sales tax would be extended to many services including home repairs, yard maintenance, advertising and veterinarians. More fees would be assessed to motor vehicle owners in both the House and Senate versions.

WHEN?

Few legislators predict a budget will be adopted by July 1, the start of the fiscal year. There will be a lot of trading over line items as House and Senate conferees face off. Nothing will be “safe.”

August 1 is a forecast from veteran lawmakers who have seen this play before.

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