Last week, House Bill 947: The G.R.E.A.T Broadband Expansion Act was passed by the House with a vote of 109-0. The bill is now in the Senate for further review. Broadband expansion has been on the forefront of North Carolina’s list of priorities for several years and the need for affordable access has exacerbated since the COVID-19 pandemic. Numerous counties in the state do not have complete access to broadband and/or users cannot afford access to broadband. This leaves students without the ability to engage in virtual learning or access virtual resources during the school year. HB 947 proposes to make an additional $400 million allocation to assist counties with access to affordable broadband service upon participating in the Completing Access Broadband Program (CAB).
Additionally, here is an update for House Bill 334: JOBS Grants and Tax Relief. Initially, HB 334 allowed individuals and corporate taxpayers an income tax deduction for expenses paid using a loan forgiven under the Paycheck Protection Program. The Senate PCS for HB 334 would replace its contents with the JOBS Grant Program and Tax Changes for 2021. The Senate PCS for House Bill 334 has four parts.
JOBS Grant Program
- This grant program appropriates $1 billion of federal funds from the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 to provide grants to NC businesses that received a COVID-related loan from the state or federal government. The maximum grant amount would be $18,750 and is determined by multiplying the lesser of the award amount or $250,000 of the award by 7.5 percent.
Tax Policy Initiatives
- This initiative reduces individual and corporate income taxes, simplifies the franchise tax, extends the sunset on the mill rehabilitation tax credits for two years, modifies the gross premiums tax and the tax on cigars, imposes a sales tax on peer-to-peer vehicle rentals, changes the calculation of the late tax payment penalty, and exempts vaccines and cemetery property from the local property tax base.
IRC Update and Related Changes
- This updates the IRC reference date from May 1, 2020 to April 1, 2021. The change permanently reduces the medical expense deduction threshold from 10 percent of AGI to 7.5 percent. This part enacts a SALT cap election for pass-through entities and provides a separate net operating loss calculation for individual taxpayers.
Revenue Laws Study Committee Recommendations
- This makes technical, clarifying, and administrative changes to the tax law as suggested by the Department of Revenue and recommended by the Revenue Laws Study Committee.
HB 334 passed the Commerce and Insurance Committee, passed the Appropriations/Base Budget Committee and is currently with the Senate Rules and Operations Committee.
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