• 70°

New NC laws: Lower taxes, fewer breaks

By Emery P. Dalesio

Associated Press

RALEIGH (AP) — Taxes are dropping for corporations and people, though taxi drivers and movie-makers are losing preferential breaks. Hunting and fishing licenses are locked into a future of low rate increases. Military veterans and their spouses may find it easier to put previous skills to work.

Those are some of the changes in North Carolina laws taking effect on New Year’s Day. Here are others:

Taxes

Income taxes paid by individuals and corporations fall further starting with the new year.

The wide-ranging tax overhaul law that this year condensed three tax brackets for individual income into one lower rate of 5.8 percent takes another step, cutting the rate again to 5.75 percent in 2015.

The corporation income tax dropped from 6.9 percent to 6 percent in 2014 and now falls to 5 percent in 2015. Corporations could see further tax cuts to 4 percent in 2016 and 3 percent in 2017 if the state meets certain revenue targets.

Republican lawmakers who approved the tax cut also took away breaks to Hollywood and cab drivers. Expiring is a 25 percent tax credit for TV and film productions that in 2013 allowed producers to forego paying $61 million in state taxes. It’s being replaced in 2015 by a grant program for video productions capped at $10 million.

Taxi drivers are losing their ability to claim a quarterly refund on the gasoline excise tax for the fuel they bought.

Hunting fees

The Wildlife Resources Commission faces new restrictions on how high it can raise fees on hunting, fishing and trapping licenses. Starting with the new year, the fees can’t be raised beyond a widely used measure of inflation averaged over the previous five years.

Stony Rushing of Wingate is an avid hunter who likes the idea.

“One of the things about hunting is we want to keep it affordable,” said Rushing, a newly installed Union County commissioner. “We do need to be able to protect (wildlife) but also protect the rights of people to go out and do it. Keeping the license fee low is going to, I think, ensure that.”

John Spruill of Hampstead said he hopes the new limit doesn’t inhibit the state’s ability to protect and conserve fish and wildlife populations.

“They can’t do that work unless they’re properly funded,” said Spruill, who buys an annual recreational commercial fishing license so he can catch crabs in coastal waters. “By and large, I would not be in favor of some sweeping action that limits the increase to” inflation.

Fracking rights

Home sellers will have to disclose whether they know whether underground oil and gas rights have been sold. A form requires the seller to say whether he or she has sold the rights that could allow underground drilling, or plans to do so before completing the real estate sale. The owner can say nothing on the disclosure about whether the rights have been sold previously.

In 2012 it was reported that Texas-based homebuilder D.R. Horton sold hundreds of new homes without the underground mineral rights as interest in drilling for natural gas deposits builds. The attorney general’s office warned that properties stripped of their mineral rights could be harder to refinance and could lose resale value.

Elections

It’ll be a little more difficult for political partisans to toy with the primary election process. People who want to file as a candidate in a party primary must have had an affiliation with that party for at least 90 days before filing a candidacy notice.

Pensions

Public employees will no longer be able to boost their pension benefits by inflating their annual income in their final working years. The agency where the employee worked would be on the hook for an employee’s pension-spiking efforts because the pension system’s share of what is owed to that retiree would be capped.

Other changes

Magistrates will be forced to retire at age 72, the same as state judges.

Firefighters or emergency medical technicians already on the job will be subject to criminal history checks, a requirement formerly for new applicants. Dismissal depends on the level, seriousness and age of the crime.

State licensing boards that regulate a broad range of professions such as plumbing and cosmetology will be required to recognize military training in occupational specialties if their skills are “substantially equivalent” or better than existing requirements. Licensing boards will have to issue a license, certification, or registration to military spouses if they already have a license in their field in another state and can demonstrate competency in the occupation.

Companies that merged or consolidated with another company before 1972 get new protections from asbestos lawsuits. State law will limit the successor corporation’s liability to the fair market value of the previous business’s gross assets when it was bought out.

Comments

Local

Hundreds turn out for annual Juneteenth celebration on newest federal holiday

Local

Between local champions and an upcoming state tournament, pickleball putting Salisbury on map

Business

Business leaders hope to draw big crowd for job fair at West End Plaza

News

Officers cleared in Mooresville shooting

Business

From firefighter to photographer, Brianna Mitschele is ready to capture more moments in downtown Salisbury

News

25 years later, runners reflect on Olympic torch’s trip through Rowan

News

Commissioners to consider designating Newberry Hall House as county historic landmark

Farm & Garden

51st annual Old Southeast Threshers’ Reunion set for July 1-5

Business

Biz Roundup: St. Luke’s Episcopal Church Foundation awards grants from Salisbury to Jerusalem

Lifestyle

Kristy Woodson Harvey: For Dad

News

South Salisbury Fire Department activates new weather siren

Lifestyle

Library Notes: Meet the ‘Dare Devil Dogs’ in Week 5

Faith

Q&A with Bishop Tim Smith

College

Wolfpack tops Stanford falls in College World Series opener

Lifestyle

‘Down by the Praise Pond’ shares local author’s faith in debut children’s book

Nation/World

Driver crashes into crowd at Pride parade in Florida; 1 dead

News

Search continues after 3 tubers die, 2 disappear at dam

News

Research from NC State professors is aboard space station

Education

Livingstone College celebrates federal recognition of Juneteenth

College

Wolfpack faces Stanford today in College World Series

Nation/World

Tropical weather lashes Gulf Coast with winds, rain

Nation/World

Girl attacked by bear in Great Smoky Mountains National Park

News

Cooper vetoes bill that would have allowed more to carry guns in churches

News

Two tubers remain missing after going over Dan River dam