The House Finance and Appropriations Committee reviewed the annual consensus economic forecast for 2021. North Carolina’s general fund for fiscal year 2020-21 is expected to be $4.13 billion over the May 2020 forecast. The year-to-year changes include individual income tax up by 3.8%, sales and use tax up by 8.0%, corporate income and franchise tax up by 4.9%, and the total general fund up by 6.0%.
The forecast also predicted fiscal year 2021-22 to have an adjusted growth of 3.1% and 4.0% of growth for fiscal year 2022-23. Having received the economic outlook forecast for the state, the Governor and General Assembly can now begin the budget process.
As discussed in previous blog posts, Senate Bill 37 requires an in-person learning choice for families. The bill passed the legislature this week and has been presented to the Governor for his consideration. The Governor has stated concerns with the bill and could veto the legislation in the days ahead. We will continue to monitor the bill and share another update once the Governor has taken action.
Another notable piece of legislation is House Bill 82, which mandates local schools to offer a six-week school extension learning recovery and enrichment program outside of the instructional calendar following the 2020-21 school year. This bill directs the State Board of Education to provide for and require units to implement innovative benchmarks to allow teachers to measure students learning loss throughout the school year. On Feb. 16, House Bill 82 was introduced in the House and subsequently referred to the House Education Committee where it received an initial hearing without a vote.
On Feb. 15, House Bill 73 (temporarily waives ABC permit renewal fees,) was introduced in the House and subsequently referred to the House Rules Committee. Additionally, House Bill 4 originally filed on Feb. 11, waives certain ABC permit renewals and registration fees due on May 1, 2021 or for the period covering May 1, 2021 through Apr. 30, 2022. The bill passed the legislature this week and was presented to the Governor for his consideration. Both of these bills seek to provide relief to the restaurant community through permit flexibility.
Finally, Senate Bill 38 allows sole proprietors of S Corporations to represent themselves without an attorney in cases under $25,000. The bill passed the Senate this week and is now headed to the House for deliberation.
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