By Cady Thomas
House Speaker Moore said that subcommittees could start meeting this week to rollout the modifications to the state budget. House and Senate leaders have agreed to spend between $29.5 and $30 billion while Governor Cooper’s proposed budget would spend $30.79 billion. The NCGA is considering raises for teachers and state employees as well as personal and franchise income tax changes.
It is expected this year’s budget will be a conference report bill that is pre-negotiated with the Senate and is done so mainly out of the public eye. It could also allow the process to happen quickly, as the NCGA leaders hope to be done by July 4.
The Be Pro Be Proud Program was funded last year by the NCGA for $5,000,000. Unfortunately, the actual cost is about $5,750,000 and the additional funds have been requested for inclusion in the conference report. We are working with the stakeholders to ensure appropriate funding is received. The NC Home Builders are heading up this program and the funding efforts.
Short Session Preview
Other than the budget, there are several hot topics being discussed at the NCGA. Sports betting, legalizing medical marijuana, medicaid expansion. All are Senate priorities and it is yet to be seen if the House will take them up.
We continue to work with members of the NCGA to fix issues related to the Lien Agent process.
Bills and Legislation
SB 739–Study Ecom. Dlvr. Fee/Xfer Rev for Transport.
Introduced by Senators Sawyer, McInnis, and Woodard last week, it will allocate a percentage of the total sales tax collected for transfer from the state’s General Fund to the Highway Trust Fund. The transfer would phase in as follows:
2 percent in the 2023 fiscal year (est. $193.1 million)
4 percent in 2024 (est. $401.2 million), and
6 percent in 2025 and thereafter (est. $628.3 million in 2025, $655.9 million in 2026, and $684.8 million in 2027).
Members of CRMCA were advocating for this change on the day the bill dropped and will continue to do so with more meetings scheduled with House and Senate members this week.
HB 83—Rev. Laws Tech., Clarifying & Admin. Changes: As recommended by the Department of Revenue, this legislation includes technical and clarifying changes to current revenue laws. Revisions include clarifying the treatment of affiliated debt, fixing a franchise tax inconsistency and clarifying corporate operating losses for mergers.
HB 911—Regulatory Reform Act of 2022: This year’s comprehensive regulatory reform legislation amends various state laws related to utilities, education, occupational licenses, state and local government and other regulations. HB 911 clarifies liability for the Department of Health and Human Services and local governments when soil scientists are used instead of engineers on sewer projects; eliminates outdated statutory language directing state agencies to register grant programs and recipients with the State Auditor’s office; among other provisions.
Numbers as of May 21, 2022:
2,744,935 total cases
636 people – 7 day average of those hospitalized
72% of adult population fully vaccinated, 62% of total population fully vaccinated
Ending State of Emergency
Legislation is being drafted in the House to remove the state of emergency in NC. House Minority Leader Robert Reives and Senate Minority Leader Dan Blue want to see it lifted as well but urged caution and ensuring we have protections in place if it is lifted.
Other Important Items
On The Move
James “Beau” Thomas replaced William Gerringeras the chief of the Department of Labor’s Mine and Quarry Bureau. He’s spent his career in mining and has worked for the agency since 2015.
Congressman Ted Budd (R) and former NC Supreme Court Justice Cheri Beasley (D) handily won their primaries. Budd received an endorsement from Trump and $11M to clear the field, and Beasley’s primary opponents mostly stepped down in advance of the vote. Their race in the fall is slated to be among the most watched and expensive in the country.
North Carolina gained a congressional seat this year and now has 14 members. The most watched races yesterday were the 1st (Eastern NC), 4th (Durham, Orange, Alamance, Person, Granville), 11th (Western NC) and the 13th (Johnston, Southern Wake, parts of Harnett and Wayne).
NC State Senator Don Davis (D) prevailed in the 1st and will face Sandy Smith (R) in the general election.
NC State Senator Valerie Foushee (D) won a crowded primary in the 4th including Clay Aiken. The seat was made available by the retirement of longtime Congressman David Price (D). Foushee is expected to win in the fall.
NC State Senator Chuck Edwards (R) beat incumbent Congressman Madison Cawthorn (R). Edward’s was able to unseat the Trump pick through broad support of the business community and Senator Thom Tillis (R) active support. Edwards is expected to win this fall.
District 13 is an open seat competitive seat. Trump endorsed Bo Hines (R) won the Republican primary and NC State Senator Wiley Nickel (D) won the Democratic ticket. The race will be hotly contested and expensive.
NC SENATE Highlights
Senator Ralph Hise (R-Mitchell) narrowly defeated Senator Deanna Ballard (R-Watauga).
Incumbent Senator Kirk deViere (D-Cumberland) was defeated by Val Applewhite after Governor Cooper (D) threw his support to Applewhite. This was an unusual move and is rumored to be in reaction to deViere’s work across the aisle on budget negotiations.
NC HOUSE Highlights
Double-bunked Representatives Jamie Boles (R-Moore) and Ben Moss (R-Richmond) resulted in a narrow defeat of seven-term Boles. Moss is expected to win the election in the fall.
Incumbent Representative Pat Hurley (R-Randolph) was defeated by Brian Biggs (R). Biggs’ fall race is not considered competitive.
Former House member Tricia Cotham (D-Mecklenberg) won her primary last night. The new Charlotte district is left leaning.