Under the Dome

Dome: Bill eliminating state tax credits headed to McCrory

From Staff ReportsMarch 6, 2013 

With the Senate’s final approval Wednesday, a measure to let a modest state tax credit for low- and moderate-income taxpayers expire in 2013 is headed to Gov. Pat McCrory.

The measure to eliminate the earned income tax credit drew the scorn of Democrats, who unsuccessfully sought to extend the credit. The legislation lowers the state’s tax break slightly for the 2013 tax year because the federal tax credit rose.

Republicans said the bill aims to “decouple” the state from federal tax policy. But Democrats link it with efforts this session to curtail unemployment benefits and prevent Medicaid expansion to show the majority party is disregarding the poor.

McCrory warns of tight budget

Gov. Pat McCrory said he expects to present “a very, very tight budget” to the legislature in several weeks.

The governor said he is spending about three hours a day working on the budget. He said the revenue stream “causes us some concern.”

“We hope to have the budget within the next couple of weeks,” McCrory said Tuesday. He said he was running about a week behind schedule.

Black Caucus lays out agenda

The Legislative Black Caucus laid out its legislative agenda, using a quote from Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.: “There comes a time when silence is betrayal.”

“Some say, ‘This is a bad time for the Black Caucus. What are you really going to do?’ We are going to do a lot because we are going to be vocal,” said Rep. Garland Pierce, the caucus chairman and a Wagram Democrat. Black lawmakers make up the majority of the House and Senate Democratic caucuses.

He pounded the Republican agenda, as Democrats have for the past several weeks, as “truly taking from the needy and giving to the greedy.” Pierce, a Baptist minister, listed legislation to allow the expiration of the earned-income tax credit, cut unemployment benefits, block the expansion of Medicaid and require voter ID, raising his voice to say “these things are fundamentally wrong at the core and plainly ungodly.”

Pierce stopped short of suggesting the Republican cuts are racially tinged. “It’s not so much about black, white and party, it’s a class struggle,” he said.

The caucus’ top priorities include criminal justice, the economy, education, voter ID and health care. One of the bills is HB208, which would ban employers from asking applicants whether they have been convicted of a criminal offense until after conditional employment has been offered, unless it could put the public in danger.

Another area of concern is diversity on state boards, particularly with a Republican effort to sweep clean previous Democratic appointees. Sen. Gladys Robinson, a Pleasant Garden Democrat, mentioned that the terms for the last minority members of the university system’s Board of Governors are set to end.

Meet the new agency: NRA

Is the National Rifle Association a new state agency?

A reference sheet recently sent to all state Senate offices listing contact information for all state agency legislative lobbyists includes the gun lobby group.

The NRA lobbyists – Anthony Roulette and Christopher Cox – are listed between the National Guard of North Carolina and the Board of Occupational Therapy on the alphabetical sheet that includes the legislative liaisons for the governor’s office, state auditor and other major state agencies. The NRA is the only nongovernmental special interest group on the list.

The sheet, sent from the legislative assistant director in February to all offices and obtained by Dome, is designed to serve as a quick lookup for all aides to senators.

Staff writers John Frank and Rob Christensen

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