Under the Dome

Dome: McCrory redefines 'revenue-neutral'

Staff writersJuly 8, 2013 

Gov. Pat McCrory is redefining what he wants to see in a much-debated bill to overhaul the state’s tax system, and it appears he’s moving in a different direction than state lawmakers.

Speaking with reporters Monday, he said he wants to limit the plan’s scope to 2015 because he doesn’t believe revenue forecasts after that date. From there, McCrory said, lawmakers can re-examine the issue based on the state’s economic situation.

The latest version of the tax measure, approved by the Senate, calls for phasing in the changes over a five-year period.

McCrory declared in his State of the State address earlier this year that any tax bill “must be revenue-neutral.” The term typically means a bill needs to keep state tax revenues flat, despite the changes.

But on Monday the governor created his own definition: “My goal is to meet the budgetary requirements of state government,” he said. “To me, that’s the definition of ‘revenue-neutral.’ ”

McCrory reiterated his concern that the Senate and House tax plans cut state taxes too deeply, and don’t give him enough money to pay for his priorities.

“The tax reform purpose should be to reform the tax system,” he said. “If there are other goals that legislators want to meet, regarding tax cuts in certain areas or tax increases in certain areas, then, to me, that’s a separate issue.”

Either way, the Republican chief executive is urging state lawmakers to strike a deal on tax reform soon or move on. “If not this week, it needs to happen soon because that’s delaying movement on the budget,” he told reporters Monday. “We’ve got to move one way or another.”

If the bill survived in its current form, McCrory said, he would have “serious concerns about the bill because I’m not going to put the financial state in jeopardy.”

“I’d rather have no bill than a bad bill,” he added later.

Abortion bill to be debated

Show up early if you want a seat at Tuesday’s House committee meeting where members will consider a sweeping bill that would restrict access to abortions.

Groups on both sides of the abortion debate are lining up people to pack the committee room. Last Wednesday, about 500 abortion-rights supporters showed up at the Legislative Building on about 12 hours notice to protest the bill. The Senate passed the measure along party lines.

Planned Parenthood Health Systems in North Carolina is calling on supporters to be at the Legislative Building at 9 a.m. Tuesday before a House committee meeting on House Bill 695. The bill would make clinics meet standards similar to those for outpatient surgery clinics, and make it more difficult for doctors to administer pills that to induce abortion.

NARAL Pro-Choice North Carolina is promoting the rally Tuesday and suggesting that people pack the committee room for the 10 a.m. meeting.

N.C. Values Coalition, which supports the bill, is asking its supporters also to attend the meeting, and stay until 2 p.m. in case the bill goes right to the House floor. The coalition asked supporters to call Speaker Thom Tillis and their legislators.

Frye gets new post

Henry Frye, the former Chief Justice of the N.C. Supreme Court, has been named chairman of the Institute of Political Leadership.

Frye replaces former Greensboro mayor Jim Melvin.

The 26-year-old nonprofit group has trained more than 1,500 future North Carolina political leaders.

Staff writers John Frank, Lynn Bonner and Rob Christensen

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