Monday at the North Carolina General Assembly
HEADLINES:ó NC lawmakers approve tax break seen as drawing $1B Apple data center to rural area
ó Allred resigns NC House seat after fallout over meltdown involving drink, speeding, teen page
THE BRIEF:RIPE APPLE: The General Assembly approved changing the state’s tax law with hopes it will result in Apple Inc. announcing a $1 billion investment within days. The Senate voted 40-8 to go along with conditions including that the company invest in a rural area. The final round of debate lasted less than a minute. The legislation was sent to Gov. Beverly Perdue, who was expected to sign the bill into law quickly. An Apple spokeswoman said the company had no comment. The tax break could be worth about $46 million in the next decade, assuming the lone, unnamed company projected to qualify reaches its $1 billion investment target within nine years of starting, according to a memo by legislative fiscal staffers. The Associated Press reported last month that the unidentified company being targeted by the tax break is Apple, which is seeking a site for its East Coast data warehouse.
ALLRED GONE: Rep. Cary Allred, R-Alamance, ended a legislative career that spanned 18 years from 1980 until a probe into his conduct during an April floor session. His resignation took effect hours before the resignation letter he submitted last week was read as the evening’s House session started. The Alamance County Republican told the Burlington Times-News last week he fought for his constituents against government bureaucracies but had not cared for his own “personal problems.” Fellow legislators reported that Allred said he was speeding on the way to Raleigh on April 27, had been drinking before the session. Some lawmakers believed he behaved inappropriately toward a 17-year-old female House page who was a family friend.
MONDAY’S SCORECARD:In the Senate:
ó H22, requires the state Labor Secretary to report yearly to the Legislature on the agency’s efforts to crack down on violations of laws governing where and when minors can work. Passed 47-0. Next: Back to House for concurrence.
ó H135, would allow Internet broadband companies offering service outside their franchise territory to also include voice-grade communications services outside their territory. Passed 47-0. Next: To the governor.
óH1037, would permit appeals lawyers the right to same-day access when a court rules on whether to hear a death row inmate’s case. Passed 48-0. Next: To the governor.
AROUND THE STATEHOUSE:Every member of the North Carolina General Assembly saw a little something less in their paychecks when they received them Friday. That’s because Gov. Beverly Perdue signed a bill into law that required lawmakers take a pay cut equal to 0.5 percent of their salaries for the remainder of the fiscal year. General Assembly controller Wesley Taylor said that meant rank-and-file House and Senate members saw their monthly base salaries drop by $35 to about $1,128. They will receive a similar reduction at the end of June. Lawmakers usually receive $13,951 annually. The General Assembly approved a bill requiring the cut so that their pay would be in line with reductions Perdue ordered other state employees to take to narrow the state’s $3 billion shortfall this year.
ON THE AGENDA:Progressive groups and service providers say they will hold a press conference asking legislators to balance budget cuts with tax increases that protect the poor, elderly and sick from sharp cutbacks in services. The rally comes as House budget-writers this week comb through their options for savings that shave down some of the projected $4 billion spending gap for the state fiscal year beginning in July. The House is looking at cuts deeper than the Senate or Gov. Beverly Perdue offered in their spending proposals because state revenues have dropped dramatically in recent months.
QUOTABLE:”Those of you who don’t attend will be talked about more viciously.” Sen. Tony Rand, D-Cumberland. He encouraged fellow senators to attend the annual Capitol Press Corps satirical skits poking fun at legislators, their personalities and their statements.
By Emery P. Dalesio.