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From the North Carolina state legislature

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By Rep. Frank Iler

Guest Columnist

Week two of the short session began early with a Monday, May 19, 4 p.m. session. This was in order to read in dozens of new bills and get the week off to a fast start. Many meetings were held with our colleagues to discuss the upcoming bills. This included tax issues, as well as energy, education and young offender’s legislation.

Most of the tax issues were contained in House Bill 1050, Omnibus Tax Law Changes.  The bill had fifteen sections, but the most controversial were dealing with privilege license taxes and the vapor product tax. Privilege licenses are charged by many local governments to a business for the privilege of doing business in their town. There are many ways of calculating the tax; some are flat fees, some are by location and others are based on gross receipts or sales. Some businesses are paying more than $1,000, whether or not they make a profit. Another issue is that this tax is passed along to their customers, as are all taxes in a business. This bill caps the privilege license tax at $100. This simplifies the collection process in some cities, and it can save some towns administrative costs.

The vapor products tax is an effort to equalize the taxes on cigarettes, tobacco products and the new vapor nicotine products, or E-cigarettes. It imposes a 5-cent per milliliter tax on the E-cigarette packets and refills. This is lower than cigarettes and other tobacco products, but can be adjusted to keep up with this emerging market. About 300 jobs are soon to be announced to produce these products in the Winston-Salem area. House Bill 1050 passed the House by a final vote of 84-29 and goes to the Senate for its approval.

A very controversial bill concerning the age at which juvenile offenders are considered adults came back to the House after 10 months. House Bill 725, Young Offenders Rehabilitation Act, passed its second reading on July 26, 2013, and came up for its third reading last Wednesday. It changes the age at which juveniles are tried as adults for most misdemeanors from 16 to 18. It was opposed by the state Sheriff’s Association, District Attorneys, and the chiefs of police. I checked with Brunswick County District Attorney Jon David and Sheriff John Ingram, and they had concerns about the cost to the counties and strain on the system.  I voted against it, as I did last year, but it passed 77-39. Most Democrats voted for it, as well as half of the Republicans. 

On Thursday, May 22, we met in the old Capitol building to commemorate the 220th anniversary of the first session of the North Carolina General Assembly in the Capitol building in Raleigh. The first session was held in 1794 in the State House. It burned in 1831 and the present State Capitol is built on the same site. It housed the General Assembly until 1963, when the current Legislative Building was occupied. We passed a unanimous resolution honoring the 220th anniversary of the State House.

While we were in session at the old Capitol building, we also passed Senate Bill 261, Sales Tax On Private Residence Rented by Broker. This bill doesn't change the current sales tax, but clarifies a Revenue Department ruling from 2012 that mistakenly gave a sales tax exemption to one-time events. This is for short-term rentals less than 15 days. Our brokers charging sales tax on weekly rentals should see no change as a result of this clarifying bill.

We expect to see the energy bill come over from the Senate early this week, as well as the budget bill sometime later.

 

Rep. Frank Iler, R-Oak Island, represents Brunswick County in the North Carolina House of Representatives and faces Democrat Charles Warren in November’s general election. He can be reached in Raleigh at (919) 301-1450 or Frank.Iler@ncleg.net.