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Political notebook: City officials attend rally at N.C. Capitol

Two city council members and DSI Director Paula Bohland traveled to Raleigh this week in an attempt to bolster support for the revival of historic tax credits.

The tax credits helped owners ease the cost of major renovations to registered historic buildings. They expired at the end of 2014.

Cultural Resources Secretary Susan Kluttz has toured dozens of counties to gather support for a revival of the credits. State House members responded by passing a version of the credits earlier this year by a significant margin.

Members of the Senate, however, have declined to take action.

Kluttz, elected leaders from around North Carolina — including Mayor Paul Woodson and councilwoman Karen Alexander — and Gov. Pat McCrory attended the rally.

In a news release about the rally, Kluttz reiterated a point she’s made several times — the tax credit brings jobs and economic development to rural towns and big cities across the state.

“The rebirth of one abandoned downtown building has a ripple effect throughout a community and often sparks a renaissance of development in nearby structures,” Kluttz said. “In addition, these historic buildings and mills are an emotional tie to our heritage and exemplify what makes North Carolina unique. These credits are critical for North Carolina’s economic recovery.”

Since 1998, more than 2,400 historic tax credit projects have been completed statewide bringing more than $1.6 billion of private investment into North Carolina communities.

Salisbury and Rowan County rank in the top tier of the state for the number of projects that have used the state historic tax credits.

Kluttz and McCrory visited Salisbury earlier this year to tout the tax credits.

McInnis joins others in praising sales tax redistribution

Historic tax credits weren’t the only thing this week in Raleigh.

A crowd of local and state elected officials held another rally this week to drum up support for a sales tax redistribution plan. One of the many was Sen. Tom McInnes, a Republican whose district extends into southern Rowan County.

The latest version of the plan shifts the method of sales tax distribution to a 50/50 model. Currently 75 percent of taxes go to the location where the purchases occurred and 25 percent is based on population. The latest version of the plan would give 50 percent to the location of the purchase and 50 percent to areas based on population.

“The 50 percent per capita and 50 percent point of sale will level the playing field for the rural counties while keeping the urban counties strong,” McInnis said. “We look forward to the bill being passed in the House and signed into law by the Governor.”

The bill has already passed the Senate.

It has attracted significant opposition from urban counties, who stand to lose large sums of money in the redistribution.

McCrory signs disabilities act for the disabled

Gov. Pat McCrory this week signed a measure that aims to help those with disabilities deal with future expenses.

Called the Achieving a Better Life Act, the measure passed both houses of the North Carolina General Assembly before being signed by McCrory.

“The ABLE act will allow countless North Carolinians with disabilities reach their full potential by providing services as well as educational opportunities so they can help build a stronger and more compassionate North Carolina for us all,” McCrory said.

Specifically, the measure gives individuals with disabilities and their families the opportunity to establish accounts to save for expenses such as medical and dental care, education, employment training, assistive technology, housing and transportation. Funds in ABLE accounts will not count against the financial eligibility standards of Medicaid and other support programs designed to support disabled citizens.

The bill is in response to a federal measure championed by U.S. Sen. Richard Burr, R-NC.

North Carolina is the 29th state in allowing the accounts, which can receive tax free contributions of up to $14,000 per year and savings of up to $100,000 without putting Medicaid eligibility and other support programs at risk.

Contact reporter Josh Bergeron at 704-797-4246.

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