As the 2015 General Assembly begins its work architects in North Carolina are keeping a close eye on issues affecting the design and construction industry. At a time when many sectors in the economy are showing great strides coming out of a long and painful recession, building is still relatively anemic. Three primary issues will top AIANC's agenda during this long session, Historic Preservation Tax Credits, Tax Reform and Infrastructure Financing.
Last year the Legislature allowed the historic preservation tax credits to expire. Communities that were anticipating a revival of some of their most notable and cherished structures are now left wondering if they can even be saved and renovated. A critical tool in community rebuilding has been taken from developers and local leaders.
The Governor, municipalities, contractors, economic developers, preservationists and design professionals have all coalesced this year to make the reinstatement of these credits a number one priority for the state. Please visit http://www.historictaxcredits.org/ and sign the petition to join the coalition.
In 2013 the General Assembly took a big step in restructuring the state's income tax schedules for both individuals and corporations. However, at the time the House refused to go along with the Senate's plan to implement a broader base of service taxes in exchange for eliminating all income tax.
This year Senator Bob Rucho (R-Mecklenburg), with the blessing of the Senate President Pro Temp, Pihil Berger has vowed to come back with a new reform plan. Rucho has indicated that service taxes will once again be on the table. That means architects are looking at the possibility of having their services taxed for the first time in this state. All of the proposed tax credits and incentives are sure to get caught up in this larger discussion of tax reform.
Last year the NC Recovery Coalition (AIA, AGC, PENC, ACEC) made its primary legislative agenda state building repair and renovation and infrastructure investment. The campaign was entitled "The Cost of Doing Nothing." A detailed analysis shows that through the state's maintenance neglect, North Carolina is actually wasting over $600 million a year by forestalling needed repairs and renovation.
On Wednesday, February 4, Governor McCrory addressed the General Assembly in his State of the State address and outlined his agenda for North Carolina in 2015. Included as a top priority is a substantial package for infrastructure spending in the next 5 years.
McCrory wants the Legislature to pass a $1.2 billion bond for transportation and a $1.3 bond for State building repair and renovation. Both Senate and House leaders were cool to the idea of incurring any more debt without additional details of how the bond money would be spent.
All three of the preceding issues will be on the agenda for our annual Legislative Day on March 25 in Raleigh. Once again we will join forces with the contractors and engineers as the NC Recovery Coalition to demonstrate our commitment as an industry to economic development around these items. Please plan to be with us that day.