NC House passes $21B budget

May 22, 2015

(The News & Observer, Raleigh)

The N.C. House approved a $21 billion state budget plan by a vote of 93-23. The budget proposal, which will now move on the the Senate for consideration, would increase funding for education, including teacher raises, and restore a deduction for medical expenses on state income taxes. Last-minute changes included reducing a credit for film productions from $60 million to $40 million per year and eliminating a credit for companies that hire state universities for R&D work.

Judge halts fracking permits

May 21, 2015

(The News & Observer, Raleigh)

A Wake County judge stopped the N.C. Mining and Energy Commission from issuing drilling permits for fracking until a lawsuit between Gov. Pat McCrory and General Assembly leaders is resolved.
Related: Exploratory drilling for oil and natural gas could start as soon as next week

House budget would increase education spending

May 20, 2015

(The News & Observer, Raleigh)

The N.C. House budget proposal would increase K-12 spending by $269 million, or about 3.3%. State revenue projections show 6% growth for the upcoming year. "The first time since I've been here, I get to talk about what we're adding instead of what we're cutting," Rep. Craig Horn (R-Union County), who chairs the education budget committee, said.

House budget proposal would revive historic-preservation credits

May 19, 2015

(Winston-Salem Journal)

The N.C. House's budget proposal, released Monday, would restore the state's historic preservation tax credits and extend the program until Jan 1, 2021. The budget also would revive the medical-expense tax exemption for senior citizens.

Focus turns to incentives after SC's Volvo announcement

May 18, 2015

(The News & Observer, Raleigh)

South Carolina's announcement that Volvo will build a $500 million auto plant there has sparked impatience and fingerpointing among state legislators as the General Assembly has failed to adopt a jobs-incentives plan to attract businesses.
Related: Tax breaks for large corporations, The Daily Reflector

Fennebresque, UNC governors begin search for new system president

May 18, 2015

(The Charlotte Observer)

John Fennebresque, the Charlotte-based attorney who chairs the UNC Board of Governors, says the January news conference following the announcement of UNC System President Tom Ross' retirement was "a fiasco."

NC House amends budget proposal

May 15, 2015

(The News & Observer, Raleigh)

Now that state revenue projections show a $400 million budget surplus at the end of the fiscal year, the N.C. House has begun making adjustments to its proposed spending plan. Some provisions differ from Gov. Pat McCrory's budget proposal, though details on key topics such as jobs incentives haven't been made public yet.

Audit shows DHHS unit overspent on payroll

May 14, 2015

(Winston-Salem Journal)

A State Auditor's report released Wednesday shows the state Office of Medicaid Management Information Systems wasted at least $1.67 million on excessive pay and compensation between 2011 and 2014. The report shows the unit's director abused her authority by hiring her daughter, ex-husband and other temporary employees who were unqualified for their jobs.

Lawmakers seek alternatives to I-77 tolls

May 13, 2015

(The Charlotte Observer)

Lawmakers from the I-77 corridor north of Charlotte are bringing concerns about proposed toll lanes to Gov. Pat McCrory in a last-ditch effort to find alternatives to the plan. The state is about to sign a $650 million contract with a private company to build and operate toll lanes in the 26-mile corridor ("Taking a Toll," April).

Skvarla blames legislature for losing Volvo to SC

May 12, 2015

(The News & Observer, Raleigh)

Commerce Secretary John Skvarla said he wasn't sure North Carolina was "ever in the game with Volvo," because the state legislature hasn't approved funding for jobs incentives. Volvo announced Monday it will build a $500 million plant that will employ up to 4,000 people near Charleston, S.C. The Palmetto State offered more than $150 million in incentives to lure the automaker.
Also: South Carolina trumps North Carolina in bagging Volvo