For the first time since 2017, North Carolina lawmakers have passed a comprehensive budget to provide for state spending. This week, members of the N.C. House and N.C. Senate introduced and then passed a compromise budget with strong bipartisan support. Yesterday, Gov. Cooper added his signature to the budget, securing its passage into law.
Given the challenges North Carolina continues to face as we navigate out of a pandemic, it was especially important that we have an up-to-date budget approved and in place this session. This new budget will allocate spending for both the current state fiscal year and the next fiscal year, a biennium that began on July 1 and will run through June 30 of 2023.
NC Chamber priorities advanced in the budget include, but are not limited to:
- $8 billion in investments to modernize North Carolina’s transportation, broadband, water and sewer, and public education infrastructure (a priority aided by another recent piece of welcome news: the passage of a historic, $1 trillion federal infrastructure bill)
- A measure to reallocate revenue derived from short-term vehicle leases from the General Fund to the Highway Fund, ensuring this roughly $90 million a year in transportation-related revenue is invested directly into our transportation network (a solution advocated for by the NC Chamber’s Destination 2030 Coalition)
- A reduced and simplified franchise tax on business assets that will cut costs at tax time for employers in a wide variety of industries and make our communities even more attractive to job creators looking to make asset-rich, high-impact investments
- A phased reduction of the personal income tax rate from 5.25 percent to 3.99 percent (PIT applies to many smaller businesses that operate as pass-through entities)
- A ten-year extension of the Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credit, which provides our state with a valuable incentive tool to spur development in smaller communities and rural areas
No matter your perspective, state budgets, by nature of their size and their scope, are always imperfect vehicles of policy. I’m not aware of any budget passed during my more than two decades working close to the legislature that has completely satisfied a single person, organization, or interest group. Anyone with skin in the game can always point to a priority that was left out, or that failed to advance as far as was hoped.
However, I do believe the very best budgets – those that truly aim to balance the needs of our job creators, public institutions, communities, and citizens – are achieved through compromise. As we head toward the Thanksgiving season, I am thankful for a budget that strikes that balance and includes priorities that are crucial for so many NC Chamber members. I commend both Democratic and Republican legislators and Gov. Cooper for securing this compromise that will keep our businesses, our communities, and our people moving forward.
I also wish to thank my own staff for putting in extra effort this year, due to the prolonged nature of this legislative session, to ensure the NC Chamber could provide a strong voice – from the start of session to the end – to advance our members’ legislative agenda. We look forward to sharing our post-session legislative scorecard, How They Voted, with you in the coming weeks.
Gary J. Salamido
President and CEO