North Carolina this week saw two major economic development announcements. Credit Suisse will add 1,200 jobs in the Triangle and AXA will expand its Charlotte offices to create a regional headquarters and add 550 new jobs.
The Senate presented and approved its budget this week. The House will now consider the bill and is expected to unveil their spending priorities within the next 2 weeks.
Also in the General Assembly this week, legislators again overrode a veto by Gov. Roy Cooper. The bill would limit hog farm nuisance lawsuits.
State and Legislative Issues
- On Tuesday, the state’s Economic Investment Committee approved incentives for two major projects.
- Credit Suisse will add 1,200 jobs at its existing location in the Triangle. The company will be eligible for up to $40 million in incentive payments over 10 years if job creation and investment requirements are met.
- AXA Equitable Insurance will add 550 new jobs at its existing location in Charlotte. The company will be eligible for up to $12 million in incentive payments over 10 years if it meets job creation and investment requirements.
- The average annual salary of the new jobs created at both companies is expected to exceed $100,000.
Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger (R-Rockingham) presented highlights of the Senate’s proposed budget on Tuesday. The Senate voted Thursday to approve the $22.9 billion spending bill. The budget would be a 2.5 percent increase over last year’s budget. Key provisions include:
- Continues plan to raise teacher pay by average of 3.7 percent next year and 9.7 percent over two years and provides for increased principal and administration salaries.
- Increases education funding by more than $600 million over two years.
- Provides for N.C. Teaching Fellows Program funding as well as supports educational nonprofit groups like Teach for America.
- Supports workforce training programs in community colleges.
- Reduces personal income tax from 5.499 to 5.35 percent in 2018 and increases the standard deduction.
- Reduces corporate income tax from 3 to 2.75 percent in 2018 and to 2.5 percent in 2019.
- Reforms franchise tax on small businesses to a flat tax of $200 on the first $1 million of a company’s net worth.
- Creates new economic development fund to attract major manufacturing to the state.
- Increases funding by $320 million over two years for the Strategic Transportation Investments Program (STIP).
- Provides $246 million to repair aging bridges and $130 million for road improvements and also funds pavement preservation projects.
- Provides $40 million to immediately fund high-need construction projects.
- Increases funding airports and the State Ports Authority for infrastructure projects.
Health and Human Services
- Provides $15 million over two years for clinics and health centers in rural and underserved areas.
- Provides $18 million for the state’s child welfare program.
- Continues plan to contribute to Medicaid Transformation Reserve savings fund for future Medicaid reform.
- Begins process to ensure teens suspected of misdemeanor offenses are tried as juveniles as opposed to adults.
- Strengthens laws punishing human trafficking.
- Provides for additional state court positions like deputy clerks of court and assistant district attorneys.
- Provides $4 million for law enforcement training.
- Increases funding to environmental and agriculture groups like the Clean Water Trust Fund.
- Provides funding for international marketing of N.C. agriculture products.
- Adds $363 million to state “rainy day” fund, bringing savings reserve to a total of $1.838 billion.
- Provides $120 million for repairs to university system facilities.
- On Wednesday, the House voted to override Gov. Cooper’s veto of HB 467, Agriculture and Forestry Nuisance Remedies.
- The bill would limit the amount of compensatory damages that could be awarded in a private nuisance lawsuit involving an agricultural or forestry operation.
- On Thursday, the Senate followed the House’s lead.
- This marks the fourth time this year that Gov. Cooper has vetoed a bill and also the fourth time that the General Assembly has voted to override his veto. The bill becomes only the 11th bill enacted thus far this session.
- Raleigh News & Observer: NC average teacher pay rises to 35th in the nation
- WRAL: NC House, Senate prepare for final stretch
- WCNC: City, state both in urgent need for road and bridge repairs, study says
- Greensboro News & Record: Cooper: Trump administration denied 99 percent of amount recently sought by N.C. for Hurricane Matthew help
- WBTV: Hickory mayor found dead in home, community reacts