Posted on September 15, 2014 by Scott Mooneyham
Posted on September 05, 2014 by Scott Mooneyham
After hearing concerns expressed by cities and towns from across the state, the League this morning delivered a letter to Governor Pat McCrory calling for a special legislative session to consider crucial funding for economic development programs and the extension of film and historic preservation tax credits. As Wilmington Mayor Bill Saffo so succinctly put it, "The elimination of key economic development programs and incentives puts the livelihood and economic competitiveness of our state in great peril."
The need for legislative action is real. Legislators had the opportunity to approve stand-alone jobs recruiting legislation, as well as a stand-alone film and historic preservation tax credit bill. Instead, these proposals became entangled in other legislation, and legislators left Raleigh without approving programs critical to bringing in new jobs and maintaining existing jobs.
In the letter urging Governor McCrory to convene a special legislative session, the League asked that he specifically limit the session -- as the State Constitution allows him to do -- to Commerce Department-related jobs recruiting programs and film and historic preservation tax credits. The letter to McCrory can be seen here
; a separate letter from Mayor Saffo asking all North Carolinians to join in the call for a special session to address these issues can be viewed here
North Carolina and its municipalities, which are so vital to the state's economic growth, cannot afford a timeout when it comes to job recruiting and job creation. The state faces the real possibility that Commerce Department programs critical to inducing new businesses to come here will run out of money, even as large employers weigh North Carolina communities as potential business sites against communities in other states. Many cities and towns also face the possibility of seeing historic rehabilitation projects, with the potential to create hundreds or even thousands of jobs in total, falling apart without historic preservation tax credits. And the loss of film tax credits will mean the loss of film and TV production jobs.
Please contact Governor McCrory's office and your Legislators to ask them to support a special legislative session to take up these measures so essential to economic development and job creation.
Posted on September 04, 2014 by Scott Mooneyham
Please find linked below the League's 2014 End of Session Bulletin, featuring an in-depth look at the accomplishments of cities and towns during the past legislative session, as well as the legislation and issues affecting them. This document includes summaries of dozens of bills that the League lobbied during the session. Click the link below to access all 50 pages of the End of Session Bulletin.
2014 END OF SESSION BULLETIN
Posted on September 04, 2014 by Government Affairs Team
With the Legislature finally adjourned, political circles in Raleigh were relatively quiet this week. The LeagueLINC Bulletin, published when legislators are in session, will resume when lawmakers return to Raleigh, which may be next year or may be sooner (see below). LINC'ed IN, published when the General Assembly is out of session, will resume next week. Meanwhile, look for the League's End of Session Bulletin report -- with a comprehensive review of legislation tracked by the League and municipalities' accomplishments over the course of the session -- early next week.
Even if the Legislative Building was mostly deserted this week, a few happenings regarding the League, member cities and towns, and state politics are worth noting. One was the extensive article that the influential NC Insider state government news service published this week taking stock of city gains at the Legislature this year. The article relied extensively on a League news release sent out at the end of the session, as well as an interview with League Advocacy Communications Strategist Scott Mooneyham.
The piece began by listing some of the accomplishments:
"Pension-spiking prevention. Added Powell Bill money. Repealing E-Verify requirements on small local government purchases. They're three on a bulleted list of reasons why the N.C. League of Municipalities thought this year's legislative session was generally one of accomplishment for cities and towns across North Carolina, despite notable challenges. 'Even with the privilege license tax issue hanging out there, we still feel like we are in a much better position with the overwhelming majority of legislators than we were a couple of years ago,' said Scott Mooneyham, spokesman for NCLM."
The piece did not shy away from the challenges and misses for municipalities, including discussions about the pending privilege license tax repeal and the failure of legislators to extend film and historic preservation tax credits. Wilmington Mayor Bill Saffo was among those quoted about the disappointment at seeing legislators balk when it came to extending the tax credits and in approving more business recruiting incentives, which could prove crucial for projects considering southeastern North Carolina. (The full Insider article can be viewed here
, but because it is a subscription-based publication, access may be limited.)
Mayor Saffo also is among those who are now urging Governor Pat McCrory to hold a special legislative session to take up incentives and tax credit-related legislation. Reps. Ted Davis
and Suzi Hamilton
this week joined in the effort to get Governor McCrory to act, issuing a joint statement to that effect. The governor's office has remained noncommittal on the issue, even as Commerce Secretary Sharon Decker has been discussing the need for more business recruiting dollars. See media coverage about a potential special session here
Elsewhere, the League's Municipal Advocacy Goals
process for 2015 continued this week with meetings in Raleigh and Greensboro of Legislative Action Committees ... The League submitted formal comments
to the Federal Communications Commission regarding Wilson's petition for federal pre-emption related to government-owned broadband laws ... Raleigh Mayor Nancy McFarland has indicated that the City of Raleigh and state are close to reaching a deal
on the acquisition of the Dorothea Dix property ... Former House Speaker Harold Brubaker was named the state's most influential lobbyist
in a biennial survey conducted by the N.C. Center for Public Policy Research; his former aide from two decades ago, Dana Simpson, was ranked second, while former Raleigh Mayor Tom Fetzer was third ... Former Sen. Thom Goolsby
, who recently resigned his seat, announced that he would begin lobbying ... White House Director of Intergovernmental Affairs David Agnew announced he was leaving the position; Agnew was credited by the National League of Cities for ensuring that "local voices were heard by the Administration."
Posted on August 29, 2014 by Scott Mooneyham
Posted on August 22, 2014 by Scott Mooneyham
(RALEIGH) -- The North Carolina League of Municipalities, representing 540 cities, towns and villages across the state, thanks municipal officials and legislators for their hard work on many policy matters that benefited municipalities during this legislative session.
Among the key accomplishments that aided municipalities in their goals of providing services that benefit residents, and maintaining strong, economically vibrant cities:
Repeal of a de facto moratorium on municipal environmental ordinances.
An additional $9.4 million in Powell Bill funding, bringing total funding of the municipal transportation program to $146.3 million.
Repeal of burdensome E-Verify requirements on smaller contracts and purchases by local government.
Adding $500,000 for grants provided under the Clean Water Management Trust Fund.
Providing $1 million for the Main Streets Solution Fund.
Expanding the uses of reclaimed water for public water supplies.
Requiring primary 911 centers to have back-up capabilities, but without burdening municipal taxpayers with requirements that separate facilities be constructed.
The continuation of incentives for films and TV productions.
Restrictions to prevent pension-spiking in order to strengthen the fiscal integrity of the state and local government retirement systems.
Requiring registration of moped users.
“Cities and towns enjoyed remarkable successes during this legislative session, even as we face significant policy challenges in the future,” said Goldsboro Mayor Al King, president of the N.C. League of Municipalities. “We look forward to working with our legislators and Governor Pat McCrory over the interim and next year to continue to find ways to keep cities healthy and flourishing.”
Mayor King noted that one of the key challenges in the coming year will be finding a replacement source of revenue for the pending repeal of privilege license taxes. “Eliminating the privilege license tax, without some form of replacement revenue, puts more pressure on property tax rates and city services. Maintaining modest property taxes has to be a part of the tax reform equation to promote economic growth.”
Governor McCrory and legislative leaders have committed to helping cities find a replacement source of revenue for the privilege license tax. In coming months, the League will be encouraging a robust discussion regarding the future of municipal finance and municipal services that promote economic growth.
“We believe this topic is vital to the future of North Carolina and to the quality of life that North Carolinians enjoy,” said League Executive Director Paul Meyer. “Economically vibrant cities create vibrant counties and vibrant regions. We look forward to these discussions moving forward.”
About the League
The North Carolina League of Municipalities is a membership association of 540 great hometowns – representing nearly every municipality in the state. The League advocates for its members, from the largest city to the smallest village, on the full range of legislative issues that affect municipalities.
For more than 100 years, the League has promoted – and continues to promote – good government by offering non-partisan advocacy, insurance and other services – as directed by its membership.
Posted on August 21, 2014 by Scott Mooneyham
The Legislature adjourned its 2014 session tonight after passing legislation addressing coal ash clean-up and a stripped-down economic incentives bill that did not include any local sales tax changes. The "sine die" adjournment means that legislators will not return to the capital for any full business sessions this year unless Governor Pat McCrory vetoes any bills or calls legislators back for a special session.
The session ends with the League having achieved a number of accomplishments this year. They include:
The legislative session did begin with the passage of legislation that would repeal the privilege license tax beginning in the next fiscal year, but legislative leaders committed to working with the League to find replacement revenue.
The adjournment came as the House rank-and-file again rejected HB1224 Local Sales Tax Options/Econ. Devpt. Changes. The League opposed this legislation because it does not represent a comprehensive approach to local funding needs and includes only one-half of the local government equation when it comes to economic development. The League was one of the very first groups to speak out against the bill, but as the legislation was resurrected this week it became much more about a battle between those for and against business recruiting incentives in the Legislature and even the electoral politics surrounding House Speaker Thom Tillis' U.S. Senate bid. League staff correctly judged that the bill was likely to fail by more than a few votes, and believed that calling on further engagement of the membership regarding the legislation might do more harm than good.
Legislators did approved SB 729 Coal Ash Management Plan of 2014 before leaving town, which includes a measure affecting groundwater compliance boundaries that should prove beneficial to municipalities in the wake of a court ruling that could have increased costs for some wasterwater systems. The incentives legislation approved on the final day of the session is intended to help Evergreen Packaging in Haywood County, with over 1,000 employees, comply with federal environmental rules. Read more coverage of the Legislature adjourning here.
Posted on August 20, 2014 by Scott Mooneyham
Posted on August 15, 2014 by Scott Mooneyham
The League of Municipalities requests your proposals for legislative and regulatory goals it should pursue during the 2015-16 biennium. These proposals are an integral part of the process for determining the League's Municipal Advocacy Goals for the upcoming legislative sessions. Click here to submit your legislative and regulatory goal proposals.
The deadline to submit proposals is August 31, 2014.
Posted on August 12, 2014 by Cara Bridges
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