By Patrick Gannon
Top Senate leaders said Wednesday that historic preservation tax legislation isn't dead for the session and will be part of budget negotiations between the House and Senate. Senate leader Phil Berger, R-Rockingham, said the Senate has not been in favor of bringing back the credits, which were allowed to expire at the end of last year. But, he said, that issue would be part of budget discussions. "I think if it's somewhere, (the budget) is the most likely place for it to end up," Berger said.
His comments came after Gov. Pat McCrory strongly urged the General Assembly to pass historic preservation tax legislation, saying it's "something liberals and conservatives should agree on alike." "We shouldn't even have a fight about this," McCrory said, addressing dozens of people at a rally outside the N.C. State Capitol. McCrory said the government should encourage the private sector to preserve history. "If we don't preserve the buildings and let them turn to rot and blight, then we're not going to have a town or city in the future. We're not going to have travel and tourism. We're not going to have new jobs," the governor said.
The House budget included a new historic preservation tax credit program, while the Senate's did not. Asked about the chances of tax credit legislation becoming law, Sen. Harry Brown, R-Onslow, the top Senate budget writer, said he's learned that "you never say never" in the General Assembly. "Anytime the governor wants to sit down and talk about any issue, I'll be glad to do that," he said. Brown and McCrory have traded barbs on Brown's proposal to change the way sales taxes are distributed across the state. (Patrick Gannon, THE INSIDER, 8/13/15).