The General Assembly will re-convene Wednesday, January 30th. Both the House and the Senate plan to gavel in at noon that day. The start of session is expected to be slow as new legislators ease into the legislative process.
NC Tax Revenue
Republican legislators have touted their tax policy over the years as a reason for economic growth in the state. Over the past decade, the General Assembly has gradually reduced corporate and personal income taxes. In 2019, the personal income tax rate will fall to 5.25%. North Carolina will also have a corporate tax rate of 2.5%, giving the state one of the lowest rates in the country.
Despite the cuts, the state’s tax collections have exceeded expectations by 1.7% according to economists in the General Assembly. State revenues through the first half of the fiscal year are $189 million ahead of what lawmakers projected when crafting the budget. For the past four years, the state has accumulated budget surpluses. The excess revenue has contributed to legislative successes, such as the “rainy day” relief fund.
The surplus will give lawmakers additional wiggle room while planning the state’s financial plan for the next two years. In the upcoming legislative session, it is expected that legislators will discuss increasing teacher pay, stimulating rural economies, and enhancing infrastructure.
Agriculture in North Carolina contributes billions of dollars to the state’s economy each year. The state experienced reduced agricultural production due to the devastation from Hurricane Florence last year. In response to the loss of crops, livestock, and equipment, the General Assembly appropriated $240 million in one-time assistance program funds to help farmers. The funds will be distributed across the 60 counties the President declared disaster areas.
The processing of the funding has been hampered by the partial federal government shut down. Although the program is administered through the N.C Department of Agriculture and Consumer Service, farmers must obtain documents from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). The USDA operates federal farm service offices across the state that have been temporarily closed while the federal government is shutdown.
Sen. Brent Jackson (R-Sampson) is considered the leading agriculture advocate in the General Assembly and has been working the N.C. Department of Agriculture to get checks processed for farmers in need. The goal now is to get out about 60% of the money by the end of the month with the following 40% coming at the end of February.
House Committee on Elections and Ethics Law
The House Committee on Elections and Ethics law will see a switch in chairman for this biennium. Reps. Destin Hall (R-Caldwell) and Holly Grange (R- New Hanover) will replace rules Chairman David Lewis (R-Harnett) as co-chairs of the influential committee. Reps. Hall and Grange are both lawyers and will lead the committee tasked with maintaining the integrity of elections in North Carolina.
The committee will face challenges such as finding a solution to the ongoing problems with the recently dissolved NC State Board of Elections. The board dissolved due to an investigation into the results of the 9th Congressional District.
House Speaker Tim Moore (R-Cleveland) reintroduced a strategy called floating designed to give Republicans more of an advantage in committees. In addition to announcing House committee assignments on Friday, Speaker Moore noted that the Speaker Pro Tempore, Rules Chairman, House Majority Leader, and Deputy House Majority Leader can serve as ex officio voting members on all House standing committees. These committee “floaters” will help Republicans pass more contentious legislation or compensate for absent party members.
Republicans first introduced “floaters” in the 1990s, however Democrats used them in the 2000s until the tactic was removed. This procedural change by the Republicans is in response to gains made by Democrats in the General Assembly this past November.
Aging Representative Hurley; Chair; Representative Farmer-Butterfield; Vice Chair; Representatives Black, Dobson, Hunt, John, Lambeth, Murphy, White
Agriculture Representative Dixon; Senior Chair; Representatives Brisson, Strickland; Chairs; Representatives Hunter, Wray; Vice Chairs; Representatives Ager, Alexander, Barnes, Bell, Brody, Clark, Conrad, Elmore, Graham, K. Hall, Humphrey, Hunt, Jones, Majeed, McGrady, Presnell, Queen, Reives, K. Smith, Yarborough
Alcoholic Beverage Control Representatives Boles, McGrady; Chairs; Representatives Fisher, Hardister; Vice Chairs; Representatives Alexander, Bell, Dahle, Holley, Hurley, Johnson, Lucas, Meyer, Saine, B. Turner, Yarborough, Zachary
Appropriations Representatives Johnson, Lambeth, Saine; Senior Chairs; Representatives Arp, Brisson, Dobson, Faircloth, McGrady; Chairs; Representatives Blackwell, Boles, Cleveland, Dixon, Elmore, Fraley, K. Hall, Hardister, Horn, Iler, Jones, McElraft, McNeill, Murphy, Potts, Presnell, Riddell, Sauls, Shepard, Strickland, Torbett, R.Turner, White; Vice Chairs; Representatives Ager, Autry, Ball, Barnes, Beasley, Belk, Black, Brockman, Bumgardner, Conrad, Cunningham, Dahle, Davis, Farmer-Butterfield, Fisher, Floyd, Gailliard, Garrison, Gill, Goodwin, Graham, Grange, Hanig, Harrison, Hawkins, Humphrey, Hunter, Hurley, Insko, Jackson, Jarvis, John, Logan, Lucas, Majeed, Martin, Montgomery, Morey, Pierce, Pittman, Queen, Quick, Reives, Richardson, Rogers, R. Smith, C. Smith, K. Smith, Speciale, Stevens, Terry, B. Turner, Willingham, Wray, Yarborough
Appropriations, Agriculture and Natural and Economic Resources Representative Dixon; Senior Chair; Representatives K. Hall, McElraft, Strickland; Chairs; Representatives McGrady, Yarborough; Vice Chairs; Representatives Ager, Davis, Harrison, Humphrey, Montgomery, Quick, B. Turner, Wray
Appropriations, Capital Representative Hardister; Chair; Representative Arp; Vice Chair; Representatives Goodwin, Hawkins, Morey, C. Smith, K. Smith, Stevens
Appropriations, Education Representatives Blackwell, Elmore, Fraley, Horn, Sauls; Chairs; Representatives Conrad, Hurley, Johnson; Vice Chairs; Representatives Ball, Brockman, Fisher, Gailliard, Garrison, Gill, Grange, Hanig, Lucas
Appropriations, General Government Representatives Cleveland, Riddell; Chairs; Representative Arp; Vice Chair; Representatives Barnes, Floyd, Garrison, Logan, Majeed, Pittman
Appropriations, Health and Human Services Representative Murphy; Senior Chair; Representatives Potts, White; Chairs; Representatives Brisson, Dobson, Lambeth; Vice Chairs; Representatives Belk, Black, Bumgardner, Cunningham, Farmer-Butterfield, Insko, Jarvis, R. Smith, Terry
Appropriations, Information Technology Representatives K. Hall, Jones; Chairs; Representative Saine; Vice Chair; Representatives Autry, Hunter, Pittman, Queen
Appropriations, Justice and Public Safety Representative Boles; Senior Chair; Representatives McNeill, R.Turner; Chairs; Representative Faircloth; Vice Chair; Representatives Jackson, John, Pierce, Reives, Richardson, Rogers, Speciale
Appropriations, Transportation Representatives Iler, Presnell, Shepard, Torbett; Chairs; Representatives Beasley, Goodwin, Graham, Martin, Willingham
Banking Representatives Conrad, Grange; Chairs; Representatives Hardister, Howard; Vice Chairs; Representatives Butler, Carney, Everitt, Jarvis, Montgomery
Commerce Representative Ross; Senior Chair; Representative Conrad; Vice Chair; Representatives Adams, Adcock, Ball, Butler, Clemmons, Cunningham, Everitt, Farmer-Butterfield, K. Hall, D. Hall, Horn, Howard, Iler, Jarvis, Kidwell, Lofton, Pierce, Shepard, Strickland, Terry, Warren
Education – Community Colleges Representative Sauls; Chair; Representative Brody; Vice Chair; Representatives Elmore, Gill, Goodman, Hastings, Hunt, Johnson, Pittman, B. Turner, von Haefen, Zachary
Education – K-12 Representatives Elmore, Horn, Johnson; Chairs; Representatives Blackwell, Brockman; Vice Chairs; Representatives Ball, Beasley, Brody, Corbin, Farmer-Butterfield, Fisher, Fraley, Gill, Graham, Hardister, Lucas, Meyer, Potts, Setzer, K. Smith, Strickland, R.Turner, White
Education – Universities Representative Fraley; Chair; Representative Davis; Vice Chair; Representatives Adams, Adcock, Alexander, Carney, Clemmons, Hastings, Insko, Jackson, Lambeth, Martin, McGrady, Morey, Murphy, Pittman, R.Turner, Zachary
Elections and Ethics Law Representatives Grange, D. Hall; Chairs; Representative Warren; Vice Chair; Representatives Adams, Ball, Batch, Blackwell, Brockman, Dahle, Davis, Faircloth, Fisher, Floyd, Hardister, Harrison, Jackson, Lewis, McNeill, Riddell, Rogers, Russell, Speciale, Szoka, Willingham
Energy and Public Utilities Representatives Arp, Szoka; Chairs; Representative Jones; Vice Chair; Representatives Alexander, Autry, Bell, Brisson, Brockman, Conrad, Cunningham, Dixon, Goodman, D. Hall, Hanig, Harrison, Hastings, Hawkins, Holley, Howard, Humphrey, Montgomery, Richardson, Riddell, Saine, Sauls, Setzer, Strickland, Wray
Environment Representatives McElraft, Yarborough; Chairs; Representatives Harrison, McGrady; Vice Chairs; Representatives Alexander, Belk, Clark, Corbin, Dixon, K. Hall, Horn, Insko, Kidwell, Riddell, Russell, Terry, R.Turner, B. Turner, White
Ethics Representatives Sauls, Wray; Chairs; Representatives Floyd, Setzer; Vice Chairs; Representatives Carney, Farmer-Butterfield, Hunter, Insko, Ross, Saine, Yarborough, Zachary
Finance Representatives Hastings, Howard, Setzer, Szoka; Senior Chairs; Representatives Conrad, Ross; Chairs; Representative Goodman; Vice Chair; Representatives Adams, Adcock, Alexander, Batch, Bell, Brody, Butler, Carney, Carter, Clemmons, Corbin, D. Hall, Harris, Henson, Holley, Kidwell, Lewis, Lofton, Meyer, Sasser, von Haefen, Warren, Zachary
Health Representative Murphy; Senior Chair; Representatives Dobson, Potts, White; Chairs; Representative Lambeth; Vice Chair; Representatives Adcock, Barnes, Black, Brisson, Brockman, Carney, Clemmons, Cunningham, Farmer-Butterfield, Gailliard, Hanig, Howard, Humphrey, Hunter, Insko, Jarvis, Lucas, Pierce, Rogers, Sasser, Setzer, Shepard, C. Smith, Szoka, Terry, Wray
Homeland Security, Military, and Veterans Affairs Representatives Cleveland, Speciale; Chairs; Representatives Grange, Henson; Vice Chairs; Representatives Arp, Autry, Boles, Carter, Clark, Harris, Iler, Logan, Martin, Meyer, Pierce, Rogers, Shepard, von Haefen
Homelessness Representatives Hurley, Pittman; Chairs; Representatives Carter, Dobson, Insko, Lucas, Stevens, Terry
Insurance Representatives Bumgardner, Corbin, Setzer; Chairs; Representatives Adams, Lucas; Vice Chairs; Representatives Beasley, Cleveland, Floyd, Gill, Goodman, Goodwin, Graham, Henson, Holley, Howard, Iler, McElraft, Montgomery, Murphy, Pierce, Potts, Ross, Sasser, Torbett, Willingham, Wray
Judiciary Representatives Davis, Stevens; Chairs; Representatives Blackwell, D. Hall, Rogers, Zachary; Subcommittee Chairs; Representatives Adams, Beasley, Belk, Bumgardner, Clark, Everitt, Faircloth, Gill, Harris, Howard, Hunt, Jackson, John, McNeill, Morey, Potts, Queen, Reives, Richardson, Sauls, C. Smith, R.Turner, Warren
Pensions and Retirement Representative McNeill; Chair; Representatives Dobson, Hurley; Vice Chairs; Representatives Black, Elmore, Kidwell, Lambeth, Lofton, Martin, Quick, Russell, C. Smith
Redistricting Representative Lewis; Senior Chair; Representative D. Hall; Chair; Representatives Floyd, Sauls, Szoka, Torbett; Vice Chairs; Representatives Butler, Elmore, Grange, Harrison, Hawkins, Henson, Horn, Queen, Reives, Saine
Regulatory Reform Representatives Riddell, Yarborough; Chairs; Representatives Goodman, Holley; Vice Chairs; Representatives Adcock, Ager, Belk, Blackwell, Carter, Gailliard, Henson, Kidwell, McElraft, Meyer, Presnell, R. Smith, Stevens
Rules, Calendar, and Operations of the House Representative Lewis; Chair; Representatives Szoka, Torbett; Vice Chairs; Representatives Adcock, Barnes, Boles, Brisson, Bumgardner, Carney, Davis, Dixon, Floyd, Fraley, Goodman, Grange, Hardister, Hastings, Hunter, Jackson, Johnson, Quick, Reives, Ross, Saine, Willingham, Wray
State and Local Government Representatives Brody, Corbin, Warren; Chairs; Representatives Cleveland, Speciale; Vice Chairs; Representatives Ager, Autry, Batch, Boles, Carter, Dobson, Faircloth, Fisher, Graham, Hurley, Jarvis, Lofton, Logan, Majeed, McElraft, Quick, Ross, Sasser, von Haefen, Willingham
Transportation Representative Torbett; Senior Chair; Representatives Hastings, Iler, Presnell, Shepard; Chairs; Representative Carney; Vice Chair; Representatives Arp, Blackwell, Boles, Bumgardner, Butler, Corbin, Everitt, Faircloth, Fraley, Garrison, Goodwin, Harris, Holley, John, Martin, McNeill, Morey, Quick, Richardson, Russell, R. Smith, Speciale, Warren
Wildlife Resources Representatives Adams, Henson; Chairs; Representative Yarborough; Vice Chair; Representatives Ager, Batch, Brody, Cleveland, Cunningham, Dahle, Garrison, Hanig, Presnell, Richardson, Sasser