United States: North Carolina General Assembly Week In Review - March 27, 2015

Legislature Focuses on Tax Proposals in Busy Week

Members of the North Carolina General Assembly had a full schedule this week, considering bills on everything from providing tax incentives for historic preservation projects to cutting both personal and corporate tax rates. The Senate's bill filing deadline passed on Thursday, with the House deadline to follow in a few weeks. Both chambers are slated to return to action on Monday.

Senate Republicans Propose More Tax Cuts

Republican leaders in the Senate are pushing once again this year to lower personal and corporate income rates, taking a step further than the comprehensive overhaul that was passed two years ago. Republicans filed a bill Thursday that they say will amount to over $1 billion in additional tax cuts for the state. Senate Bill 526, "Job Creation and Tax Relief Act of 2015," will lower personal income tax rates to 5.625 percent in 2016 and 5.5 percent in 2017. The current rate is 5.75 percent, which is down from the 7.75 percent rate that was cut in the tax reform package from 2013. The proposal also gives tax payers options about the taxes they pay.

Under SB 256, taxpayers could choose to use a "zero percent" bracket that would apply to some income, or they could choose to itemize deductions. Those who file as single would pay no tax on the first $8,750 of their income in 2016 and on the first $10,000 of their income in 2017. For married couples filing jointly, the exemption would be for the first $17,500 of their income in 2016 and the first $20,000 of their income in 2017.

Read SB 526 here

House, Senate Reach Gas Tax Deal

House and Senate leaders announced a deal this week to gradually cut a few cents off of the state gas tax over the next two years. North Carolina's fuel tax is currently 37.5 cents per gallon and for years ranked among the highest in the nation. Under the compromise proposal reached this week, the gas tax would see an immediate drop to 36 cents per gallon and would fall to 34 cents in July 2016, providing that the compromise is approved by both chambers and signed by Gov. Pat McCrory (R-NC).

Under the deal, a new formula will take effect in January 2017 to adjust the state rate based on changes in two new measures: NC's rapidly-growing population and the national Consumer Price Index for energy costs. The energy inflation measure rises and falls from year to year, but House and Senate leaders say it is less volatile than the wholesale fuel price. Gas and diesel fuel consumption are expected to decline over the next 25 years, even as NC adds an expected 3.5 million, leading legislative leaders to look for stable revenue sources to reduce the state's reliance on the gas tax.

The conference committee report for Senate Bill 20, IRC Update/Motor Fuel tax Changes, is on both the House and Senate calendars for Monday night.

House O.K.'s Historic Preservation Tax Credit

The House gave final approval this week to House Bill 152, New Historic Preservation Tax Credit, a bill that will replace a widely used program recently allowed to expire. The vote was 98-15 and the proposal will now be sent to the Senate, where its prospects seem anything but certain. Sen. Bob Rucho, (R-Mecklenburg) Co-Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, said that the first round of tax reform passed by the legislature two years ago supported the elimination of "special loopholes and preferences," including the historic preservation tax credit. Sen. Rucho stated that the General Assembly was able to lower tax rates precisely because the body chose to eliminate the kind of tax exemptions and credits contained in the new proposal.

In passing the measure on Thursday, the House voted down three Republican-sponsored amendments to the bill that would have required local governments to split the cost of credits with the state and eliminate credits for non-income-producing projects.

Read HB 152 here

Senate Bill Would Sell Dorothea Dix Site to Highest Bidder

A proposal filed late Thursday afternoon by three Republican senators would put the 308-acre Dorothea Dix property up for public bid, likely revoking a deal that was reached last year between Raleigh Mayor Nancy McFarland and Gov. Pat McCrory. Senate Bill 705, Ensure Fair Sale of Dorothea Dix Property, asks for "the fair sale" of the former psychiatric hospital campus by utilizing the state's standard procedure for surplus property. The bidding for the property would start at just over $52 million, which is the amount the City of Raleigh had agreed to pay following months of negotiations with the McCrory administration.

The bill is sponsored by Sens. Ralph Hise (R-Yancey), Louis Pate (R-Lenior) and Tommy Tucker (R-Union), the same trio who sponsored a bill two years ago which resulted in Raleigh's original lease on the property being revoked. Speaking at a press conference Thursday afternoon, Sen. Tucker said the deal negotiated by Gov. Pat McCrory wasn't a good deal for the state. "I just believe that the property is worth more than we're being offered." He said the state will likely spend $100 million to build a new headquarters for the NC Department of Health and Human Services, which currently occupies part of the Dix site, and that as a result, more money is needed from the deal.

Read SB 705 here

'Autocycle' Bill Whizzes Through the House

A bill to define and license three-wheeled cars, or "Autocycles," zipped through the House on Thursday, passing the Finance Committee and two subsequent floor votes with little debate. Autocycles are enclosed and feature a steering wheel, safety belts and air bags, just like a car. They also have three-cylinder engines that can carry a driver and an additional passenger in a rear seat. Despite these features, the vehicles are considered motorcycles under current state law because they have three wheels instead of four.

This means that drivers would have to wear helmets and have motorcycle endorsements on their licenses, something that bill sponsor Rep. John Torbett (R-Gaston) feels is unnecessary given the safety features of the vehicle. "Autocycles have the potential to be one of the mainstays of our future commuter needs, this is an entry market and an exciting one," Torbett said. House Bill 6, Autocycle Definition and Regulation would reclassify autocycles as a separate type of vehicle, which would free owners from the cumbersome requirements of wearing helmets and having motorcycle endorsements on their licenses.

Read HB 6 here

House Panel Rejects Proposal for Medical Marijuana

House Judiciary I Committee unanimously rejected a bill to legalize medical marijuana on Wednesday, after an emotional and often heated hearing that pitted religious groups against veterans and others who claimed to use the drug for medical purposes. House Bill 78, Enact Medical Cannabis Act, would have made the drug legal only for patients with "chronic, debilitating conditions." But opponents said it could have paved the way for widespread legalization, turning North Carolina into Colorado, where the drug is sold in stores. More than a dozen people spoke on the proposal at Wednesday's hearing, from elderly cancer patients to young veterans. Before, medical marijuana proponents pleaded with House members to make it legal, but to no avail. Despite being sponsored by four Democrats, both Democrats on the committee -- Reps. Grier Martin (D-Wake) and Darren Jackson (D-Wake) voted against the proposal. Medical marijuana supporters at the hearing said they would now focus their attention on House Bill 317 Medical Marijuana for Terminally Ill Patients, which would legalize medical marijuana for terminally ill patients in hospice care.

Read HB 78 here

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

In association with
Related Video
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
Email Address
Company Name
Confirm Password
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Media & IT
 Real Estate
 Wealth Mgt
Asia Pacific
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
United States
Worldwide Updates
Check to state you have read and
agree to our Terms and Conditions

Terms & Conditions and Privacy Statement

Mondaq.com (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd and as a user you are granted a non-exclusive, revocable license to access the Website under its terms and conditions of use. Your use of the Website constitutes your agreement to the following terms and conditions of use. Mondaq Ltd may terminate your use of the Website if you are in breach of these terms and conditions or if Mondaq Ltd decides to terminate your license of use for whatever reason.

Use of www.mondaq.com

You may use the Website but are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the content and articles available (the Content). You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these terms & conditions or with the prior written consent of Mondaq Ltd. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information about Mondaq.com’s content, users or contributors in order to offer them any services or products which compete directly or indirectly with Mondaq Ltd’s services and products.


Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the documents and related graphics published on this server for any purpose. All such documents and related graphics are provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers hereby disclaim all warranties and conditions with regard to this information, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. In no event shall Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use or performance of information available from this server.

The documents and related graphics published on this server could include technical inaccuracies or typographical errors. Changes are periodically added to the information herein. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers may make improvements and/or changes in the product(s) and/or the program(s) described herein at any time.


Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including what sort of information you are interested in, for three primary purposes:

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, newsletter alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our information providers who provide information free for your use.

Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) do not sell or provide your details to third parties other than information providers. The reason we provide our information providers with this information is so that they can measure the response their articles are receiving and provide you with information about their products and services.

If you do not want us to provide your name and email address you may opt out by clicking here .

If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of products and services offered by Mondaq by clicking here .

Information Collection and Use

We require site users to register with Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to view the free information on the site. We also collect information from our users at several different points on the websites: this is so that we can customise the sites according to individual usage, provide 'session-aware' functionality, and ensure that content is acquired and developed appropriately. This gives us an overall picture of our user profiles, which in turn shows to our Editorial Contributors the type of person they are reaching by posting articles on Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) – meaning more free content for registered users.

We are only able to provide the material on the Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) site free to site visitors because we can pass on information about the pages that users are viewing and the personal information users provide to us (e.g. email addresses) to reputable contributing firms such as law firms who author those pages. We do not sell or rent information to anyone else other than the authors of those pages, who may change from time to time. Should you wish us not to disclose your details to any of these parties, please tick the box above or tick the box marked "Opt out of Registration Information Disclosure" on the Your Profile page. We and our author organisations may only contact you via email or other means if you allow us to do so. Users can opt out of contact when they register on the site, or send an email to unsubscribe@mondaq.com with “no disclosure” in the subject heading

Mondaq News Alerts

In order to receive Mondaq News Alerts, users have to complete a separate registration form. This is a personalised service where users choose regions and topics of interest and we send it only to those users who have requested it. Users can stop receiving these Alerts by going to the Mondaq News Alerts page and deselecting all interest areas. In the same way users can amend their personal preferences to add or remove subject areas.


A cookie is a small text file written to a user’s hard drive that contains an identifying user number. The cookies do not contain any personal information about users. We use the cookie so users do not have to log in every time they use the service and the cookie will automatically expire if you do not visit the Mondaq website (or its affiliate sites) for 12 months. We also use the cookie to personalise a user's experience of the site (for example to show information specific to a user's region). As the Mondaq sites are fully personalised and cookies are essential to its core technology the site will function unpredictably with browsers that do not support cookies - or where cookies are disabled (in these circumstances we advise you to attempt to locate the information you require elsewhere on the web). However if you are concerned about the presence of a Mondaq cookie on your machine you can also choose to expire the cookie immediately (remove it) by selecting the 'Log Off' menu option as the last thing you do when you use the site.

Some of our business partners may use cookies on our site (for example, advertisers). However, we have no access to or control over these cookies and we are not aware of any at present that do so.

Log Files

We use IP addresses to analyse trends, administer the site, track movement, and gather broad demographic information for aggregate use. IP addresses are not linked to personally identifiable information.


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that Mondaq (or its affiliate sites) are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of these third party sites. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this Web site.

Surveys & Contests

From time-to-time our site requests information from users via surveys or contests. Participation in these surveys or contests is completely voluntary and the user therefore has a choice whether or not to disclose any information requested. Information requested may include contact information (such as name and delivery address), and demographic information (such as postcode, age level). Contact information will be used to notify the winners and award prizes. Survey information will be used for purposes of monitoring or improving the functionality of the site.


If a user elects to use our referral service for informing a friend about our site, we ask them for the friend’s name and email address. Mondaq stores this information and may contact the friend to invite them to register with Mondaq, but they will not be contacted more than once. The friend may contact Mondaq to request the removal of this information from our database.


From time to time Mondaq may send you emails promoting Mondaq services including new services. You may opt out of receiving such emails by clicking below.

*** If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of services offered by Mondaq you may opt out by clicking here .


This website takes every reasonable precaution to protect our users’ information. When users submit sensitive information via the website, your information is protected using firewalls and other security technology. If you have any questions about the security at our website, you can send an email to webmaster@mondaq.com.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user’s personally identifiable information changes (such as postcode), or if a user no longer desires our service, we will endeavour to provide a way to correct, update or remove that user’s personal data provided to us. This can usually be done at the “Your Profile” page or by sending an email to EditorialAdvisor@mondaq.com.

Notification of Changes

If we decide to change our Terms & Conditions or Privacy Policy, we will post those changes on our site so our users are always aware of what information we collect, how we use it, and under what circumstances, if any, we disclose it. If at any point we decide to use personally identifiable information in a manner different from that stated at the time it was collected, we will notify users by way of an email. Users will have a choice as to whether or not we use their information in this different manner. We will use information in accordance with the privacy policy under which the information was collected.

How to contact Mondaq

You can contact us with comments or queries at enquiries@mondaq.com.

If for some reason you believe Mondaq Ltd. has not adhered to these principles, please notify us by e-mail at problems@mondaq.com and we will use commercially reasonable efforts to determine and correct the problem promptly.