General Assembly Republicans had a rather heated caucus meeting about the controversial HB 1224 legislation on Monday. Sources in the caucus meeting told us that sources close to speaker Thom Tillis claimed that members would get a “pass” from Civitas Action if they went ahead and voted for HB 1224. (Civitas Action issues ratings measuring the conservatism of all 170 legislators. Those kind of things can be quite volatile and damaging around campaign time.)
I decided to ask the folks at The Civitas Institute about the claim by House leadership. Here’s what Civitas boss Francis DeLuca told me:
We have said NOTHING on this bill. I have told people that I like the cap on local property taxes and that we would not consider the local part bad as the taxes require a referendum. The corporate welfare part of the bill is not good.
We have not said we would or wouldn’t grade it. We usually don’t announce graded votes ahead of time. We have on occasion announced graded votes such as saying all insurance mandates (autism) would be graded as bad votes.
I did put out a tweet earlier saying they should do the right thing on HB 1224.
[…] The fact that there is still life in this bill shows that there is a distinct difference between being a conservative and being a Republican,” said John Dudley, State Director for AFP’s North Carolina chapter. “Anyone who advocates and votes in favor of more crony capitalist programs is at serious odds with fiscal conservatism.”
House Bill 1224 contains several provisions that significantly decrease economic freedom for North Carolina taxpayers. These provisions include:
- A new “Jobs Catalyst” fund that will allow the Department of Commerce to pay individual companies up to $50 million in recruitment subsidies.
- An extension of the North Carolina’s green energy tax credit designed to help certain solar projects. Lawmakers agreed last year to let this special interest loophole to expire.
- Increased funding for the state’s Job Maintenance and Capital Development Fund Grant (JMAC) designed to subsidize a paper mill in western North Carolina conversion to a greener power source.
Dudley continued, “It is not the purpose of government to pick winners and losers in our economy. This bill does much more harm to the free market than it does good.”