State’s Top Business Advocate Pleased to See Transportation, Environmental Provisions in Senate Budget
The NC Chamber is pleased to see Chamber-backed policies included in the budget released by the N.C. Senate this week.
The NC Chamber is advocating to increase the limited methods of achieving critical infrastructure, including transportation projects, by removing the statutory cap on public-private partnerships. We are pleased to see the Senate budget includes a public-private partnership cap raise. This would allow NC DOT to pursue more than two additional public-private partnerships. This item is on our 2023 Legislative Agenda.
The Senate budget also includes an increase in the electric vehicle fee as well as a new hybrid fee. This important measure would begin bringing parity to how much drivers contribute to the upkeep of our roads, regardless of the type of vehicle. The budget also captures new revenue by creating parity among different forms of short term vehicle leases.
The NC Chamber will continue to push for the full NC TEN Commission agenda to be included in the conference report of the budget. As it stands, the transportation network company tax and the vehicle purchase tax cap repeal are not included.
North Carolina’s employers have identified child care as a critical factor in our state’s workforce challenges. Without access to affordable, safe childcare, a parent cannot go to work. Additionally, high-quality early care helps families raise healthy, capable children and build strong communities.
We are pleased to see increased reimbursement rates for licensed child care providers participating in the child care subsidies program from the 2018 market rate to the 2021 market rate. This first step would help communities across the state be more competitive in offering increased access to child care. We will continue to advocate for additional solutions that to address this long-term challenge.
A majority of the Senate’s budget environmental provisions below were the result of direct asks from the NC Chamber. We thank the Senate for these inclusions, particularly for the Cap & Trade and Advanced Clean Truck (ACT) Rules prohibition, which will help protect manufacturers and the business community from additional regulatory burdens and costs associated with both egregious and costly programs. We are also grateful for the keen emphasis placed on environmental permitting efficiency reform, research and development for manufacturing, and regulatory reform for state air and water permitting to unleash our economy. The NC Chamber-backed provisions in the Senate budget included:
- Prohibits the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) (Cap and Trade)
- Prohibits the ACT Mandate (Advanced Clean Truck Rules)
- Strengthens an applicant’s Right to Apply for a permit.
- Clarifies that permit applicants can apply for permits concurrently on the same project, and clarify that the department shall issue conditional permits until other necessary permits are obtained for a project.
- Clarifies that local governments must issue Erosion and Sedimentation Control permits with a conditional approval until other permits are obtained.
- Streamlines stormwater permits with 60 day deemed-approved shot-clocks
- Requires that Title V and other Air permits must be issued, denied, or published for Notice of Intent within 90 days of a receipt of a minor modification permit, 270 days for a major modification, and 15 months for a renewal.
- Creates a research and development exemption for Air permit emissions classified as a minor modification to promote R&D and reduce regulatory delays for innovation by manufacturing.
- Expands pre-construction exemption activities for new Air permits to include fire pumps and standby generators at facilities.
- Directs the NC Environmental Management Commission to create an expedited Air and National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permitting process with the following guidelines:
-A fee up to 200% (Air) 150% (NPDES) of the normal fee with tighter shot clocks.
-If the department fails to approve or deny the permit within the shorter timeframe the difference between the general and expedited fee is returned to the applicant and the permit remains pending at the department.
- Exempts all industrial category NPDES applicants from obtaining an $1000 Authorization to Construct (ATC) permit for a new NPDES permit.
“While the NC Chamber does not take a position on specific appropriations, it is important that North Carolina continue to prioritize its competitive position,” said Gary J. Salamido, president and CEO of the NC Chamber. “Our state has taken a balanced approach to its economic policies, yielding tremendous results for North Carolina as we continue to prioritize investments in workforce, infrastructure, and people in communities across the state.”