August 27, 2014
Non-Commercial Leaking Underground Storage Tank Fund
NC REALTORS® participated in a work group to secure dollars in this year's state budget for this fund.
The work group included NC REALTORS® staff and members, the NC Department of Environment and Natural Resources, the NC Bankers Association and the NC Farm Bureau. Our joint effort secured $3.5 million for the fund. Almost $2 million is recurring and will assist homeowners with the costs of cleaning up petroleum releases from home heating oil tanks and small farm tanks.
Housing Trust Fund
NC REALTORS® again worked with the NC Housing Finance Agency and our allies to keep the majority of the funds allocated to the Housing Trust Fund in the 2013 budget. We were successful--only losing $140,000 of the previously allocated money in the Appropriations Act of 2014, SB 744. This was only a 2 percent reduction in funding, which was minimal compared to how many other agencies fared.
Low Income Housing Tax Credit
This credit received a name change and a revamp in the budgeting process. As "credit" is a nasty word in the Senate, it was changed to a grant program and the name was changed to the Workforce Housing Loan Program. The budget appropriated $10 million to the Housing Trust Fund to create a program to assist in developing low-income housing units throughout the state. While NC REALTORS® and our allies would have preferred a continuation of the current credit program, we were grateful for this provision.
The film incentives were another credit that changed to a grant program–the Film and Entertainment Grant Fund. The budget allocated $10 million to the NC Department of Commerce to encourage the production of motion pictures, television shows, and commercials and to develop the filmmaking industry in North Carolina.
While supporters of the credits do not believe this is enough to keep the industry here long-term, they are hopeful this will allow current productions to continue through the first six months of 2015 while they work toward a better solution. NC REALTORS® appreciates the support that the film incentives received from Reps. Ted Davis (New Hanover), Susi Hamilton (New Hanover) and Senator Bill Rabon (Brunswick). We will continue to support these efforts in 2015.
Historic Preservation and Mill Rehabilitation Tax Credits
The credits that had the wildest ride of the year were the historic and mill rehabilitation credits. Governor Pat McCrory's budget originally included them at a reduced amount, but the Senate removed them. In the House, Rep. Dean Arp (Union) introduced and passed an amendment, supported by NC REALTORS®, to reinsert the credits into the budget. Throughout the conference committee discussions, NC REALTORS® and our allies received numerous assurances from Senators and Representatives of their support for the credits.
In the end, the credits were removed from the budget in conference. A study was placed into a contentious bill, HB 1224, a Christmas tree of sorts with lots of issues that did not really go together. The House debated this bill at length, but because of other provisions, the bill was not concurred upon and there will be no study. NC REALTORS® will work with our allies to develop a retroactive grant program for consideration in the 2015 legislative session.