The tweet from WRAL’s Capitol news team says it all for crowdfunding in North Carolina: “House votes to KILL H1224 47-54.”
The NC JOBS Act was part of House Bill 1224, which went down to defeat after some bitter debate Tuesday afternoon at the General Assembly.
The vote failed despite last-second in-person lobbying from Secretary of Commerce Sharon Decker. Our Capitol team reported that Decker urged passage of the bill, saying a number of projects involving some 3,000 jobs would be affected by the vote.
And backers of the JOBS Act as well as other economic development measures in the bill may not get another chance this year at passage.
“I think it’s done for this year,” Capitol Bureau Chief Laura Leslie tells The Skinny.
The House was divided by various parts of the bill, which also included sales tax and other economic development programs.
“They’re extorting us, & the majority in this chamber is letting them do it. We’re buckling to Senate leadership,” tweeted WRAL’s Capitol team, citing a comment made on the floor.
Said N.C. Rep. W.A. Wilkins: “We can do better. Let’s kill this thing and do better.”
Leslie, writing at WRAL.com, called the vote a “legislative insurrection” against GOP leadership from the House to the Governor.
“The vote, which came after an hour of debate and a full week of internal wrangling within the House GOP caucus, apparently came as a surprise to caucus leaders, who say they believed the House would approve the deal when they began debate.
“The bipartisan 47-54 vote against House Bill 1224 instead amounted to a legislative insurrection, with rank-and-file members voting against the wishes of House Speaker Thom TIllis, Senate Leader Phil Berger, and Governor Pat McCrory.”
Crowdfunding Backer Criticizes Senate
Investor and entrepreneur Mark Easley, who has been a big advocate for the JOBS Act, said “strong objections” to legislation other than crowdfunding led to its rejection.
“The contentious bill H1224 that the Senate put together to try to ride on the coattails of crowdfunding failed by 47-54 in the House today because of strong objections to other parts of the legislation,” Easley told WRAL TechWire.
In a blog posted at a website advocating the JOBS Act, Easley vented his anger.
“The failure by the NC Senate to bring up H680 [the NC JOBS Act] as passed by NC House for a vote on its own merits represents a significant lost opportunity for North Carolina small businesses, startups, and everyday investors,” he wrote.
“Ever since 2008, it has been extremely difficult for small business to get funding from banks and other sources, and the NC JOBS Act would have enabled a significant new source of funding all around the state, all while not costing the taxpayers a dime. Many other states have already passed similar crowdfunding exemptions over the last year, and businesses in those states are beginning to benefit.
“North Carolina was an early leader in proposing this idea, and the merits of it are clearly understood by state governments around the nation. Unfortunately the North Carolina Senate seems to have little interest in helping the small business community. Their top priority seems to playing political games to try and get corporate welfare for huge corporations from out of state.”
Murry Misses Vote
Rep. Tom Murry of Morrisville, a Republican and one of the biggest backers of crowdfunding legislation that had passed decisively in the House, was not at the General Assembly, according to the roll call. He was listed among 18 representatives (eight Republicans, 10 Democrats) who were not in attendance.
A total of 28 Republicans voted against the bill. Republicans hold a majority in the House and in the Senate.
Seven Democrats voted in favor.
How the roll call vote went can be read online.