WRAL’s Mark Binker reports that economic development is moving again in the General Assembly. However, there’s nothing apparently going to happen quickly on two other items entrepreneurs and investors are wanting.
Gov. Pat McCrory gets some of what he wants in a Senate bill that expands the Job Development Investment Grant (JDIG) program.
But Binker says there’s no definitive word on when a new venture capital fund ($40 million coupled with $120 million from the private sector) that’s already been approved by the House or crowdfunding legislation might come to a vote.
“Only vague stuff,” Binker reports.
“Nothing definitive – other than the ideas are still kicking around.”
Meanwhile, another startup – Uber – is playing the lobbying game as the state mulls regulation for ride-sharing services such as Uber and Lyft.
Bruce Siceloff, the veteran transportation beat reporter at The News and Observer in Raleigh, reports that Uber is helping craft possible regulation of itself.
“Legislation aired in a Senate committee Wednesday would set insurance requirements for Uber and other smartphone-based personal transportation services, while shielding them from most local government regulation,” Siceloff reported.
“The statewide rules were proposed by Uber itself.”
“Uber has come up with a model that 30 states are looking at right now,” Sen. Floyd McKissick, a Durham Democrat, told members of the Senate Finance Committee, according to Siceloff. “What we are doing in North Carolina is based upon that national model, and we have adopted substantial portions of that national model.”
(Read more at: http://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/state-politics/article23694691.html#storylink=cpy)
There’s news on the renewable energy front, too, as debate continues about whether to extend state subsidies. (Read WRAL’s report.)
On economic matters
The Senate did on Wednesday move to put together a proposed package that could help lure a major manufacturer to the state. At this point, it’s only for review and discussion.
“Make no mistake, a proposal such as this takes a great deal of compromise,” Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger said. The bill also includes many other pieces such as lower income taxes.
Binker pointed out that Berger took “the unusual step of introducing the bill to the committee personally” and added “the measure is likely to move in the coming week as senators also push forward with their version of the state budget.”
A bill in the House is the core of the Senate bill, Binker adds, noting that a final bill to be sent to the governor would have to be a compromise.
Here’s how Binker sums up a key part of the big (JDIG):
JDIG incentive program
The bill would recharge and expand the state’s Job Development Incentive Grant program, North Carolina’s leading job recruitment tool. It retains the current $15 million per year cap but creates an exception for a high-yield project.
A high-yield project is one that would invest $750 million in private funds and hire 2,000 eligible workers. Such a project would be able to receive 100 percent of its withholding taxes as a grant over the next 20 years, a longer and more generous boon than is available to any company under current law. It also doubles the amount of JDIG money available in a single calendar year from $15 million to $30 million in the case of a high-yield project.
The JDIG provisions in the bill also include incentives to drive investment to rural areas. For example, a project locating in a “Tier 1” area, one of the state’s most economically distressed, would have to pay 100 percent of the county’s prevailing wage. However, in what are now called a “Major Market Community,” big counties that include Wake, Durham and Mecklenburg, a company would have to pay 120 percent of the prevailing average wage.
Projects in urban counties would also have to hire more workers in order to qualify for the grant.
A similar tweak is made to the One North Carolina Fund, which matches investments made by local governments. More state dollars will go to economically distressed areas while the state would put only $1 for every $2 invested locally in a major market such as Wake County.
Read more at: http://www.wral.com/senate-bill-lowers-taxes-redefines-job-luring-programs/14703816/#sw2wxXrvX5sKK52R.99