Pricey Harrison

Friday, May 13, 2005

Update On Bills 05-13-05

Several weeks ago, I listed and discussed bills that I had introduced and today I provide an update of those more recently introduced and/or signed as a primary sponsor:

HB 1569, "Oyster Restoration & Protection Act" would enhance the infrastructure that supports oyster restoration activities, protect and restore water quality and habitat in prime oyster growing areas, appropriate funds to help support projects to rehabilitate oyster habitats and sanctuaries, appropriate funds to plan for the development of oyster hatcheries at each of the three North Carolina aquariums and develop public education programs regarding those oyster hatcheries. This is one of the first steps in implementing the Coastal Habitat Protection Plan (CHPP), part of the Marine Fisheries Reform Act of 1997, meant to protect and enhance the health of our fisheries, including coastal habitat.

HB 1600, "Climate Change/State Agency Reports/Funds" would direct state agencies to evaluate and report annually on their activities and research related to greenhouse gas emissions and climate change, would direct the state energy office to prepare an annual assessment of the state's activities related to greenhouse gas emissions and climate change and would appropriate funds to implement the program. This bill was covered in a USA Today article earlier in the week reporting on North Carolina's efforts at global warming.

HB 1641, "NC Farmland Preservation Committee Funds" would appropriate funds to create and implement the North Carolina Farmland Preservation Trust Fund Advisory Committee.

HB 1682, "Alternative Fuel Credits/Energy Credits Program", the purpose of which is to gain energy independence and improve air quality by establishing goals for alternative fuel and advanced technology vehicle use by motor vehicles in the state fleet and by establishing a banking and selling program for credits issued under the Federal Energy Policy Act. The program would generate funds to be used toward the purchase of alternative fuels and alternative fueled vehicles and for infrastructure development by state departments, institutions, and agencies.

HB 1683, "Raise CAMA Fees", would authorize an increase in application fees for Coastal Area Management Act (CAMA) permits from $400 to $1,000. This is meant to make the coastal management program more self sufficient, especially in this time of serious budget deficits.

HB 1688, "State Energy Office Funds", would appropriate funds to the State Energy Office to match federal grants for renewable energy and energy efficiency projects. Several important projects in the Guilford County area have been funded through the State Energy Office. Representative Alma Adams is a co-sponsor with me.

HB 1716, "Lead Hazard Reduction Tax Credit" would establish a tax incentive for residential lead hazard reduction and make conforming and technical changes. The tax credit would be against franchise or income tax for expenditures used for residential lead remediation. The credit amount would be the lesser of $1500 per dwelling unit or the application percentage of expenditures used for remediation (30% for owner-occupied residences and 20% for rental residences). The taxpayer would obtain credit by applying in the year after expenditures are made. The new lead remediation credit would be effective for tax years beginning on and after January 1, 2005.

HB 1722, "Wildlife Conservation - Present Use Value", would extend present-use value tax status to lands managed for wildlife conservation and make other changes regarding present-use value. It amends current statutes to provide that a tract of 20 or more acres of wildlife land is eligible for property tax appraisal at its present-use value, extends to bargain-sale conservation easement property an exception from certain use value requirements that currently applies to donated conservation easement property, and extends to bargain-sale property certain exceptions from the deferred taxes requirement that currently apply to donated property.

The proposal would enact a new statute to state the purpose of present-use value program, amend the program to increase from three years to five years the period that deferred taxes remain a lien on use value property, and become immediately payable when the property no longer qualifies for use value taxation. Another amendment would exempt from taxation real property held for conservation purposes in perpetuity (as well as for educational or scientific purposes) and adds new language exempting from taxation real property owned by a nonprofit entity, and meeting at least one of these conditions: held for purpose of transferring to state or federal conservation agency, held under written long-term management plan to promote conservation, subject to permanent conservation easement, or accessible to public for recreational purposes. This bill is meant to provide more incentives for land conservation.

HB 1766, "Alternative Fuel Vehicle Tax Credit" would create a tax credit for the purchase or lease of alternative fuel vehicles to help reduce dependence on imported petroleum and improve air quality.

Finally, I list three local funding bills introduced by Rep. Maggie Jeffus that I signed as a primary sponsor:

HB 1648, "Greensboro Symphony Society Funds", which requests funding in the amount of $50,000 for the 2005-06 fiscal year to support the orchestra's Second Annual Gospel Concert and education programs.

HB 1651, "Natural Science Center Funds", which requests funding in the amount of $800,000 for the 2005-06 fiscal year to assist the museum with Phase II of Animal Discovery.

HB 1666, "Triad Stage Funds", which requests funding in the amount of $75,000 for the 2005-06 fiscal year and $75,000 for the 2006-07 fiscal year to be used for operating expenses and to support a regional scene shop open to nonprofit arts organizations in the Triad.


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