Under the Dome

House OKs historic projects tax credit

Restorations of the Clayton Spinning Mill have stalled due to the economic slump. Developers hope to take advantage of North Carolina’s historic tax credit, which would be restored under a House bill discussed Tuesday.
Restorations of the Clayton Spinning Mill have stalled due to the economic slump. Developers hope to take advantage of North Carolina’s historic tax credit, which would be restored under a House bill discussed Tuesday. tlong@newsobserver.com

A bill that would reinstate tax credits to preserve and restore historic buildings cleared the state House on Thursday without full support from the Republican majority.

The plan is a major priority of Gov. Pat McCrory. The issue now heads to the Senate, where its prospects are in doubt.

The bill passed 98 to 15, with dissent from Republican members who objected to the concept of state-supported local projects like the historic preservation program. One of those dissenters, Rep. Michael Speciale of New Bern, was unsuccessful in trying to amend the bill to require cities and counties to repay the state half the cost of tax credits in any projects they want.

Bill sponsor Rep. Stephen Ross, a Republican from Burlington, said other proposed amendments would have gutted the legislation.

Republicans overhauled the tax code two years ago, including allowing the historic tax credits to expire. House Bill 152 would create a scaled-back version of the program, and would emphasize aid for the state’s poorest counties.

The bill passed its first major vote on Wednesday by a margin in the House of 96-18, with all the no votes coming from Republicans.

Among the no voters were Marilyn Avila and Paul “Skip” Stam of Wake County; James Langdon Jr. of Johnston County; and Jeff Collins, whose district includes parts of Franklin and Nash counties.

The bill was also not supported by the GOP’s majority leader in the House, Rep. Mike Hager, whose district includes all of Rutherford County and part of Burke County.

The 15 no votes on Thursday included those same House members. The difference in margin was a result of an absence by Rep. Pat McElraft, who represents Carteret and Jones counties, and by switched votes from no to yes by Rep. Carl Ford, whose district includes Cabarrus and Rowan counties and by Onslow County Rep. Phil Shepard.

Update: A previous version of this post erroneously identified a Senate version of the bill as SB472. That bill does not include tax credits. SB287 is the companion bill to the House bill.

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