Public Policy Update
your public policy staff
Natalie English & Lourdes Zapata
Would you like to receive the
Public Policy Update by email?
Sign up here.
North Carolina General Assembly Happenings
Please click here for this week's legislative blog. The following stories are included:
- Senate Unveils Budget Proposal
- Crossover Deadline Passes
- Upcoming Committee Hearing on Tort Reform
- House Announces Tax Reform Plan
- House Passes Toll Road Bill
- Bills Monitored
Education Bills, Bills, Bills
On Wednesday, May 22, Mecked will host a Community Conversation event on education legislation that is pending in the N.C. General Assembly. The event will discuss various bills and there will be a panel of education leaders who will weigh in on the issues. The event will be from 1-2:30 p.m. at Central Piedmont Community College's (CPCC) Central Campus in Pease Auditorium. A panel of education champions will weigh in on the bills listed below. Significant time for Q&A will follow.
- SB 361 (Excellent Public Schools Act of 2013)
- SB 337 (N.C. Charter Schools Board)
- HB 719 (2013 Education Improvement Act)
- HB 902 (Education and Workforce Innovation Act)
- HB 935 (N.C. Pre-K Law Changes)
- HB 944 (Opportunity Scholarship Act)
City Budget Update
Charlotte City Manager Ron Carlee last week presented a budget to City Council that included a recommendation for a 7.25 percent property tax that would be effective in July. The tax increase would be dedicated to the $816 million capital plan that includes new roads, sidewalks, affordable housing, police stations and money for new infrastructure west of Charlotte Douglas International Airport. Last Wednesday's meeting gave council members the opportunity to amend the capital and operating budgets. During the budget meeting, six council members gave tentative approval to a plan with a smaller 6.4 percent tax increase. The projects in this plan are identical to the ones under the proposal presented by the city manager. The change is in the timing of when projects would be funded over the 8-year plan. Under the smaller increase, homeowners with a taxable value of $200,000 would pay an additional $55.60 a year and their tax rate would increase to 46.48 cents. While the tax hike would go into effect for the new fiscal year in July, voters wouldn't be required to approve bonds for projects until November 2014. There would be additional bond referenda in 2016, 2018 and 2020.
A new plan to fund the controversial streetcar extension, recently rebranded by City Manager Ron Carlee as the CityLYNX Gold Line was presented. The rebranding is an attempt to breathe life back into the project. Carlee's plan calls for the city to seek a $63 million grant from the federal government to pay for half of the construction costs, with the city using monies from several different funds to cover the rest without a property tax increase.
Council members voted to send the CityLYNX Golf Line proposal to the Metropolitan Transit Commission (MTC), the governing body for the Charlotte Area Transit System and the half-cent sales tax. Contingent on the MTC's approval of the proposal, Carlee would like for City Council to vote on the plan at the next budget meeting on May 29.
CityLYNX Gold Line Study Results
The City Council Economic Development Committee met on May 16 to review the findings from consultant Ron Golem's study conducted on the economic development benefits of the CityLYNX Gold Line Phase 2 project. The update builds upon the 2009 study that contained a comprehensive analysis of the proposed 10-mile route for the CityLYNX Gold Line. The study includes a review of value premiums created by transit, financing options for transit systems, case studies of other streetcar systems and an economic analysis for the entire 10-miles Gold Line corridor. Phase 2 of the CityLYNX Gold Line would begin in 2020 and total 2.5 miles extending westward from the Charlotte Transportation Center along West Trade Street to Beatties Ford Road and up to Johnson C. Smith University. The CityLYNX Gold Line would also include an east extension from Presbyterian Hospital, northward along Hawthorne Lane to Sunnyside Avenue.
The updated study presented to the committee showed significant economic development benefits associated with the project. the study found that the CityLYNX Gold Line, when compared to a "no Gold Line" scenario with existing bus service, would result in an estimate addition of 731 units, 21,800 square feet of retail space, 276,700 square feet of office space and 101 hotel rooms. This represents an approximate increase of at least 1.1 million square feet in new development. Even though Phase 2 of the CityLYNX Gold Line would not launch until 2020, the study covered the period 2015 through 2020 since potential financing tools under consideration could utilize fiscal revenues from new development through 2020. The study suggests that the increase in development would occur because Phase 2 of the CityLYNX Gold Lune would increase homebuyer, renter and commercial tenant demand for locations along the Gold Line corridor and motivate developers to invest in additional development.
The earliest year that a Tax Increment Finance (TIF) district could be established would be 2015, which also would mark the first full year of operations after Phase 1. The TIF district is expected to see an increase in assessed values starting from a baseline of $0 in 2015 and growing to $561 million in 2020 and ultimately $2.356 billion in 2035.
Students from four local universities also presented a study to the committee that advocated on beheld of the CityLYNX Gold Line. Their presentation showed the positive economic, environmental and social impact that the CityLYNX Gold Line would have on and in the community. This is an issue that continues to divide the city council.
Board of Education Unanimously Approves Budget
The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education unanimously approved the 2013-2014 proposed budget request at the Board's May 14 meeting. The total operating budget seeks $365 million from Mecklenburg County for schools. The budget request identifies two key areas of focus: greater choice for students and increased capacity for technology. Expanding choices for students includes a wider variety of accessible programs such as new magnet programs and expanding high-demand magnet programs and partnerships with CPCC and Career and Technical Education programs. The budget proposes to increase technology integration by equipping classrooms as well as teachers with necessary training. Another aspect of the budget includes teacher training in the Common Core standards. CMS has also requested money from the county for capital investments in the 2013-2014 budget.
The Board of County Commissioners and Board of Education will conduct a workshop on the budget on May 23 from 3-5 p.m. at the Government Center. Click here to view the budget information.
Board of County Commissioners Recommended Budget
Interim County Manager Bobbie Shields and Management & Budget Director Hyong Yi will present the FY2014 recommended budget to the Board of County Commissioners on May 21 at 6 p.m. at the Government Center. Shields will review the schedule for the budget process. The Board will also review the preliminary ranking list of capital projects for the capital improvement program. Entities that have requested capital funds from the county submit their projects, and those projects are ranked through the board-approved capital project prioritization process. The Board of County Commissioners is expected to vote on the FY2014 budget on June 18.
How Does E-verify Affect Your Company?
The Workplace Issues committee will meet on Thursday, June 13 at 8 a.m. and Jennifer Haigwood, Director of Administration & Governmental Affairs for the N.C. Department of Labor, will dial in to provide an overview of E-verify. E-verify is a web-based system operated by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security that allows employers to electronically verify employment authorization of new hires. The N.C. General Assembly passed E-Verify legislation that requires employers to use E-Verify to check work authorization for new hires. Currently the law affects employers with 100 or more employees. Effective July 1 of this year, the threshold drops to 25 employees or more.
Put Your BusinessFirst
Having trouble navigating government? Looking for information? Running into regulatory issues?
By being a business in Mecklenburg County you are eligible to benefit from the services of BusinessFirst Charlotte and have one point of contact for your business questions and issues. We invite you to participate in a 30-minute meeting with BusinessFirst Charlotte volunteers who will inquire about various aspects of your local operations. The volunteers will cover topics such as your workforce, facility and supplies, and local business climate factors such as public services, education, tax structure and the overall quality of life. Providing this information gives us a chance to identify your business needs and identify areas where the Charlotte chamber can assist you in growing your business.
Don't miss out on the opportunity to benefit from and share your insight with BusinessFirst Charlotte. Call Ashley Hedrick, Director of Industy Relations at the Charlotte Chamber, to sign up for your meeting today. She may be reached at 704/378/1345 or emailed here.
Nominations for Wells Fargo Green Awards
Has your company recently implemented sustainable practices that benefit your company's bottom line, clients, and community? If so, Charlotte Chamber GreenWorks would love to hear about it and spread the word. The 2013 Wells Fargo Green Awards are now taking nominations for small and large companies who have incorporated innovative, sustainable practices int he products they produce, services they provide, and within the culture of their company. Click here to download a nomination form and view more information about the Green Awards. A winner from each category will be honored at the chamber's Energy Summit on November 15. The deadline for application is June 20.
Health Care Summit Save the Date
Save the Date for the Charlotte Chamber Health Care Summit to be held on August 16 at the Westin hotel downtown. The annual event will include an update on policy implications regarding the Affordable Care Act, and national and local providers sharing insight on what is working in the industry as well as what is not working. There will also be a discussion about innovations in service and care delivery. Stay tuned for speaker announcements and register here.
IN THIS ISSUE
Executive Committee Supports CIP
Revised Immigration Position Approved by Executive Committee
Raleigh Advocacy Bus Trip Recap Trip
NCDOT COO to meet with Transportation Committee
Independence Blvd. Citizens' Workshop
May 29, 8:00 a.m. | Register