Friday, February 11, 2011

Public Policy Update: North Carolina General Assembly, S. 13, and State Budget

The third week of the General Assembly’s session saw nonstop action. Both the House and Senate are ramping up as legislatures get comfortable with committee assignments, procedure, and the way things work at the Capitol.

The hot topic this week was Senate Bill 13, which passed the Senate on Monday, February 7.
S. 13 then went to the House Appropriations Committee and spent the week being debated on the House floor. The bill was designed by Senate Republicans to save money that was already appropriated to several state accounts but has not yet been spent in the 2010-2011 fiscal year, which ends July 1. The entire package saves the state $400 million, but takes money away from job creating, economic development incentives.

Find Information on S.13 below
Two very concerning items that are a part of this reversion are funds for two extremely significant job recruitment programs, the Job Development Investment Grant (JDIG) program and the One North Carolina Fund. The total reversion for these two accounts is $8.2 million. These programs are valuable tools that economic developers at the Charlotte Chamber and across the state use regularly to incent companies to create jobs by relocating or expanding their operations. If these tools are taken, Charlotte in particular will mostly likely feel significant backlash, and the state will have no choice but to pass on some worthwhile projects we would otherwise be able to land because they will have more limitations on where they can pick and choose to use these tools. With unemployment rates as high as they are, now is not the time to be cutting back on incentive programs, especially when many of our surrounding states and competition are ratcheting up what they are willing to do.

Several amendments were made in the House to save the economic development funding the bill would take away. Representative Ray Rapp of district 118 (Haywood, Madison, Yancey) made the amendment to save the Golden Leaf funding. This funding is valuable to rural counties in helping to provide jobs and improve quality of life. The Chamber thanks Representative Rapp for the work he does and his work to preserve this funding.

S. 13 passed the House on Thursday, February 10 and are headed to the Governor’s desk on Monday for approval. There has been Rumor that the Governor may veto the bill. The Chamber will watch the legislation closely.

Governor Perdue also announced on Thursday that North Carolina’s budget deficit has been whittled down by $1 billion to a total of $2.7 billion. You can see her announcement here. The Governor will give her State of the State address on Monday, February 14, 2011 at 7 p.m. in the House Chamber, and her 2011-2012 fiscal year budget is supposed to be released next week.

The Chamber will be watching these developments and working for the businesses and people of
Western North Carolina.

Please contact Jeff Joyce at 828-258-6122 with any questions or needs.

No comments: