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Action Alert: Economic Development and Transportation Funding Legislation To Be Debated Tomorrow

This will be a very busy week in the House Finance Committee as they consider two of the Charlotte Chamber's top legislative priorities: economic development and transportation. This week's legislative blog provides you with the tools to assist in advocacy on these issues.

To read this week's legislative blog, written by Kerri Burke of McGuire Woods, LLC, click here

Save The Date - 2015 Transportation Infrastructure Summit

The Charlotte region transportation infrastructure is one of our city's most important assets, touching every citizen in one way or another through its impact on safety, quality of life, economic development and daily commerce. However, North Carolina will be facing a transportation funding crisis mid-2015, declining by hundreds of millions annually.

Join us Friday, April 17, for the 2015 Transportation Infrastructure Summit at The Ballantyne Hotel & Lodge from 8 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. for a critical discussion about funding transportation infrastructure investments with local, state and federal decision makers.

Members: $75
Non-Members: $99

To register for this summit, click here.

For more information regarding this summit, including sponsorship opportunities, contact Carrie Cook at 704.378.1325.

Aviation Committee Update and Advocacy Need

The Aviation Committee met Tuesday, February 24, 2015 at the CLT Center of the Charlotte-Douglas International Airport. Aviation Committee members were urged to advocate on several issues: the expiration of the sales tax cap on jet fuel with state legislators, transportation infrastructure funding, specifically a new control tower, with members of Congress, and educating co-workers and friends about the positive impacts the hub operation has on our economy

Tracy Montross of American Airlines shared with the committee concerns that the expiration of the sales tax cap on jet fuel will increase American Airlines' tax liability in North Carolina and threaten the continued cost competitiveness of the hub in Charlotte, as well as the frequency of air service to the other eight commercial airports in North Carolina.

According to the nonpartisan Tax Foundation, commercial jet fuel should be excluded from the retail sales tax base because it is a business input. Applying the sales tax to commercial jet fuel creates tax pyramiding, especially in an industry like aviation, which has large excise taxes at multiple points along the production chain.

Today, it is still cheaper for American Airlines to buy fuel in Texas, Arizona, New York, Pennsylvania and Virginia than in North Carolina, even with the sales tax cap in place. North Carolina already excludes the sale of diesel fuel to railroad companies and maritime businesses from the retail sales tax base.

Without legislative action, North Carolina could have the fifth highest jet fuel tax in the nation. As reported in the legislative blog, this issue is included in House Bill 117. Please contact members of the Mecklenburg Legislative Delegation to urge their support efforts to address the expiring sales tax cap on jet fuel in order to keep Charlotte-Douglas International Airport competitive for commercial aviation.

Contact information for the Mecklenburg Legislative Delegation can be found by clicking here.

Expect Major Workers' Compensation Savings Starting April 1

As you know North Carolina employers pay unpredictably high rates for workers' compensation medical services, without any predictability for determining the rates. Recognizing this is a major cost factor, the NC Chamber has been leading with the business community, insurers, hospitals and doctors to negotiate a more predictable fee schedule for employers. We have been a strong voice for the business community in the more than two-year effort to bring about needed changes in the current workers compensation medical fee schedule.

The outcome is a transition to a Medicare fee schedule over three years where employers pay a specified percentage above Medicare rates, which ultimately saves employers an estimated $400 million in workers' compensation costs. This creates greater predictability by developed a defined cost for each medical procedure.

The Rules Review Commission took up the Industrial Commission rules last week. With no appeals filed, the new rules go into effect April 1 for hospital claims and July 1 for physician.

Save the Date! PSCA - Charlotte Regional Conference

McGuireWoods and Plan Sponsor Council of America (PSCA) will host a one-day conference, on March 10, organized to meet the needs of retirement plan sponsors in their communities. The conference will promote interaction among plan sponsors and between plan sponsors and financial service providers. Topics will include lifetime income issues, outreach and communication with employee participants and new innovations in administering plans.

PSCA - Charlotte Regional Conference
Tuesday, March 10, 2015
Foundation For the Carolinas
PSCA Members - $59 Non-members - $99

For more information regarding this event, please contact Andrew Brennan at 202.857.2940.

March Workforce Development and Education Committee Meeting

The Workforce Development and Education Committee's rescheduled meeting will be Wednesday, March 11, 2015 at 8:30 a.m., at the Foundation For the Carolinas in the Sklut Classroom. The committee will host Brian Schultz, Academic Officer of Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, who will speak to the committee about the new state issued letter grades that were given to each campus in North Carolina for the first time on February 5th. 

For questions regarding this committee meeting, please contact Laura Guacci at 704.378.1322.

Foundation For the Carolinas
Sklut Classroom
200 North Tryon Street
Charlotte, NC 28202