While certainly far from perfect, the 2016 budget bill had several features conservatives could support, including : tax cuts, expansion of the opportunity scholarship program and aggressive setting aside of funds in the rainy day fund. Of course there are items we would have liked to see addressed, such as moving to a merit pay system for educators and eliminating corporate welfare programs like the film production grant fund; but Civitas Action believes on net that the state budget is a net positive. The conservative vote is yes. RCS #1016 (36-14)
House Bill 169, Regulatory Reduction Act of 2016, would, among other things, make it more difficult for state agencies to adopt rules that impose significant financial costs on those affected. Specifically, any rule with a projected total impact on all potential affected persons totaling $100 million or more over 5 years would need to meet higher thresholds of approval to be adopted. Civitas Action supports reigning in unnecessary and burdensome government regulations that restrict the harmless actions of businesses and citizens. The conservative vote is Yes.
The City of Charlotte bathroom ordinance allowed transgender individuals to use the public restroom of the sex they identify with. HB 2 clarified that under the North Carolina Constitution, it’s the state and not the local cities or other municipalities that is responsible for enacting new laws that regulate and impact commerce. HB 2 also clarifies that public bathrooms, locker rooms, and showers are limited to persons of the same biological sex. HB 2 ensures that women and children will enjoy privacy when using the restroom and not be forced to shower or change in front of men. It sets a statewide standard regarding the use of and access to restrooms in public facilities across North Carolina. Civitas believes that the repeal of the Charlotte ordinance will provide for the privacy and protection of the women and children of our state. The Conservative vote is yes.
The committee substitute bill for House Bill 3 includes three constitutional amendments: • Restricting the state’s approved use of eminent domain to “public use” and eliminating “and public benefit” • Capping the state income tax rate at 5.5%, lowering it from its current cap of 10% • Adding a constitutional right “to hunt, fish and harvest wildlife” Civitas Action supports lower taxes, restraints against the government’s ability to take privately-owned property, and the ability to engage in hunting and fishing. Lower taxes promote greater job growth and economic prosperity – opportunities especially beneficial to low-skilled, lower-income people on the margins of employment. Eminent domain power has been abused in the past and can unfairly compel people to give up their private property. The conservative vote is yes. RCS# 992 (31-18)
This bill would increase the fees on several professional licenses for various professions - mostly in the healthcare industry. Civitas Action believes the government should not be in the business of forcing people to pay a fee to practice their profession, and raising said fees only makes it more expensive and prohibitive for people to enter their chosen profession. The conservative vote is no. RCS #1040 (44-2)
This bill would add requirements to the permitting process for wind farms near military bases, largely to ensure they don't conflict with training exercises or flight paths. Civitas Action believes in protecting the ability of the military to conduct its training exercises as safely as possible. The conservative vote is yes. RCS #912 (33-14) Engrossed and sent to House where it was referred to Committee on Rules, Calendar and Operations of the House.
This bill includes a section that would extend by two years the state tax credit for constructing renewable energy facilities. Under current law, the state tax credits are scheduled to expire for facilities placed into service on or after Jan. 1, 2017. Civitas Action opposes crony capitalism such as taxpayer subsidies or targeted tax credits that provide government-granted competitive advantages to specific businesses. The rest of the bill has far less of an impact and is largely unobjectionable. As long as SB 770 includes the section to extend the renewable energy tax credit, however, Civitas Action believes the bill should be graded as an act to extend crony capitalism. The conservative vote is no. RCS #895 (44-3)
This bill would increase the standard deduction in North Carolina’s state income tax code. The amount of the deduction would rise to $17,500 for married filers (from the current $15,500) by 2017 and $8,750 for single filers (up from the current $7,750). Civitas believes tax cuts allow North Carolinians to keep more of their hard-earned dollars and enable greater job growth and economic prosperity. The conservative vote is yes.