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State Government
Cooper Vetos Bill That Puts Party Affiliation On Judicial Ballot PDF Print E-mail
State Government
By Administrator   
Thursday, 16 March 2017 15:57
 
Governor Roy Cooper signed a veto of House Bill 100, “An Act to Restore Partisan Judicial Elections for North Carolina Superior and District Courts and to Change the Time for Submission of Petitions for Unaffiliated Candidates.”
 
In his veto message, Governor Cooper wrote, “North Carolina wants its judges to be fair and impartial, and partisan politics has no place on the judges’ bench. We need less politics in the courtroom, not more.
 
Judges make tough decisions on child abuse, divorce, property disputes, drunk driving, domestic violence and other issues that should be free from politics. This bill reverses that progress.
 
We should let people elect judges based on their experience and ability to do the job, not which party they pick.
 
I am also concerned that judges who have chosen to register as unaffiliated voters so as to avoid partisan politics now have a difficult path to getting on the ballot.
 
Therefore, I veto the bill.”
Last Updated on Thursday, 16 March 2017 16:02
 
Senate Leadership Proposes $1 Billion Tax Cut PDF Print E-mail
State Government
By Administrator   
Thursday, 16 March 2017 11:58
The leadership of the North Carolina Senate unveiled a roughly $1 billion tax cut proposal that would provide relief to the overwhelming majority of North Carolinians – with the most dramatic reductions going to middle class and working families and job-creating small businesses.
 
The $1 billion cut would acculmulate through 2019 and the sponsors say 99 percent of North Carolina taxpayers would enjoy a tax cut. 
 
The Billion Dollar Middle Class Tax Cut Act, sponsored by Sen. Jerry Tillman (R-Randolph), Sen. Tommy Tucker (R-Union) and Sen. Andrew Brock (R-Davie), would continue Republican-led efforts to reform, simplify and cut state taxes – making our tax climate the most competitive in the region and among the most competitive in the nation. Beginning in 2018, the proposal would:
 
Lower the personal income tax rate – In addition to North Carolina families, hundreds of thousands of small businesses pay income taxes at the personal income rate.  Reducing the rate from 5.499 to 5.35 percent would keep North Carolina’s personal income tax rate one of the lowest in the Southeast. Before Republican-led tax cuts were passed starting in 2013, the state had the Southeast’s highest personal income tax rate at 7.9825 percent.
  • Increase the amount of income exempt from income tax – The standard deduction – the amount of money a taxpayer can earn that is exempt from any income tax – is increased for all North Carolina taxpayers:
  • Provide additional tax relief for families with children – The existing child tax credit would be converted and expanded into a progressive child tax deduction for families earning less than $120,000 per year:
  • Increase the amount of the mortgage interest and property tax deductions and eliminate the marriage penalty for itemizers – Under the proposal, families who opt to itemize their returns rather than claim the standard deductions would see the amount of mortgage interest and property taxes they could deduct increased to $22,000 and tiered by filing status like the standard deduction. (The new deduction level for married filers would cover most homes valued up to about $550,000). Taxpayers who itemize will continue to be able to claim unlimited charitable and medical deductions.
  • Simplify and reduce the franchise tax on small businesses – The plan cuts what is effectively a statewide property tax on small business and creates a flat $200 tax on the first $1 million of a business’s net worth. The change cuts taxes on small businesses organized as S-Corporations by up to $1,300 per year and brings S-Corporations’ tax treatment more in line with LLCs (limited liability companies.)
  • Reduce the corporate income tax rate – The tax rate on businesses would be reduced from 3 percent to 2.75 percent in 2018 and to 2.5 percent in 2019, continuing the business tax reforms that have helped create more than half a million new jobs since Republicans took control of the state legislature in 2011.
  • Move to market-based sourcing – The proposal adopts the N.C. Department of Revenue’s market-based sourcing rules which end tax penalties on service-based businesses for hiring workers and making infrastructure investments in North Carolina. This change provides service-based businesses the same benefits manufacturing businesses received last year through the adoption of single sales factor apportionment.
Under the bill, 99 percent of taxpayers would pay less or pay no state personal income taxes – and the bulk of the tax cut would benefit middle class and working families earning less than $50,000 per year.
 
While reducing the total tax bill on 99 percent of taxpayers, the Billion Dollar Middle Class Tax Cut Act shifts more of the overall income tax burden in North Carolina from low- and middle-class taxpayers to high-income earners.
 
For example, a married couple with two children earning the N.C. median household income of roughly $47,000 per year receives an additional tax cut of nearly $200 under the proposal – eliminating close to 14 percent of their total state tax burden. Combined with other major tax reductions enacted by the General Assembly, the same family would pay $318 less in state income taxes than they paid in 2012.
 
Because the Billion Dollar Middle Class Tax Cut Act focuses tax cuts on low- and middle-income North Carolina families, the effective income tax rate reduction is greatest in our state’s economically struggling rural areas. For example, the tax cut for a family making the median household income in each county ranges from a high of 39 percent in Bertie County (which has the state’s lowest median income) to 7 percent in Wake County (which has the state’s highest median income.)
 
This legislation will bring the total annual amount of tax relief provided to North Carolina families and job creators to more than $4.5 billion per year since Republicans assumed leadership of the state legislature in 2011.
Last Updated on Thursday, 16 March 2017 12:05
 
Cahoon Named Coastal Resources Chair PDF Print E-mail
State Government
By Administrator   
Thursday, 16 March 2017 11:32
Renee Cahoon has been appointed by Governor Roy Cooper to serve as chairwoman for the state’s Coastal Resources Commission.
 
“North Carolina is blessed with amazing coastal resources and we need to safeguard our coast because it helps drive our economy,” Governor Cooper said. “Renee Cahoon is a proven leader and I’m pleased to appoint her as chair of the Coastal Resources Commission.”
 
Cahoon has been a member of the commission since 2002 and has served as its vice-chairwoman since 2013. She grew up in Swan Quarter and spent her summers enjoying the Outer Banks. She was mayor of Nags Head from 1991 through 2000 and was elected mayor once more from 2005 to 2009. Currently, she serves as a commissioner for the town of Nags Head and has substantial experience dealing with local government issues along the coast.
 
“I look forward to working with Division of Coastal Management staff and members of the commission on important issues facing our coast, including shoreline stabilization, beach management, beachfront permitting and estuarine shoreline issues,” Cahoon said.
 
Cahoon replaces Frank Gorham, who served as the chairman of the state’s top coastal commission since 2013. Gorham submitted his resignation last week, effective immediately.
 
“Former Chairman Gorham did an outstanding job leading the commission during the past three years and I have the utmost respect for him,” Cahoon said.
 
Braxton Davis, director of the state Division of Coastal Management, expressed his sincere appreciation for Gorham’s service.
 
“It has been a pleasure working with him, and we have always appreciated his support of the division’s staff,” Davis said. “I hope he will remain engaged in North Carolina’s coastal issues.” 
 
Davis added: “Commissioner Cahoon brings many years of experience both at the local level and on our state coastal commission, and our staff has a great deal of respect for her knowledge, experience and wisdom. We look forward to working with Commissioner Cahoon on the important issues facing our coast in the years ahead.”
 
The Coastal Resources Commission establishes policies for the state’s coastal management program and adopts rules and policies regarding coastal development in North Carolina.
 
 
State Senate Passes Bill That Caps State Income Tax Rate at 5.5 Percent PDF Print E-mail
State Government
By Administrator   
Wednesday, 15 March 2017 09:55
The state senate passed legislation on a constitutional amendment that would cap the state personal income tax rate to no more than 5.5 percent. 
 
If passed by the house, the constitutional amendment would go before voters in the November 2018 election. 
 
The top state income rate is 5.49 percent, but the North Carolina Constitution allows the rate to go as high as 10 percent. 
 
The vote passing Senate bill 75 was 36-13 with Republican Tamara Barringer voting against the cap while Democrats Joel Ford and Ben Clark voting for it.  
 
 In a statement, Alexandra Sirota, Director of NC Budget & Tax Center, said the constitutional amendment is un-democratic. 
“By placing a low and arbitrary income tax cap into our state constitution, lawmakers are taking democracy out of the budget process. They are aiming to lock in their desired choices and limit the choices of North Carolinians tomorrow, 10 years from now and 100 years from now.  Under this amendment, lawmakers elected by North Carolina’s future voters will not have the tools to meet our state’s future needs.”
 
Americans for Prosperity State Director Donald Bryson had the following statement: “Americans For Prosperity applauds the senate for passing SB 75 and choosing to let voters protect themselves from future tax hikes. If the State House passes this commonsense reform voters will get to cast the final vote on capping the income tax rate at 5.5%. This bill will protect individuals and families currently paying North Carolina’s lowest tax rate in decades from lawmakers who only see spending increases and tax hikes.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 15 March 2017 10:10
 
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