The Legislative Review

N.C. Rep. Karl Gillespie

N.C. Rep. Karl Gillespie

During my first-term in the North Carolina House of Representatives, I was proud to have played a role in the accomplishment of several important things for the citizens of N.C. Among the items I voted for that passed and were implemented:

Statewide Accomplishments

• Approved a balanced budget plan with key investments and savings (HB103/SB105)

• Supported North Carolina farmers and agricultural producers (SB762)

• Protect farms from additional burdensome federal regulations (HR1174)

• Increase penalties for arson and fires that injure first responders (HB315)

• Increase penalties for organized retail theft (SB766)

• Reduce and streamline unnecessary government regulations (HB911)

• Eliminate State Income Tax on Military Pensions (SB105)

• Cut the personal income tax rate from 5.25% to 3.99% (SB105)

• Increase zero-tax bracket to $25,500 (SB105)

• Increase “Rainy Day” savings fund to $4.75 billion (HB103/SB105)

• $15 minimum wage for non-certified public-school personnel and community college staff (SB105)

• 6% pay raise for state employees over the biennium (H103/SB105)

• 9.1% average pay raise for teachers over the biennium (H103/SB105)

• $883 million for water and wastewater infrastructure projects (HB103/SB105)

• Nearly $1 billion in broadband funding (HB103/SB105)

I am incredibly pleased with the state legislature’s accomplishments during my first term in office. In addition, Senator [Kevin] Corbin and I were able to successfully advocate on behalf of our districts and bring back historic funding for House District 120 and Senate District 50. Overall, $43 million in direct funding for House District 120 was secured over the biennium. These appropriations will improve local infrastructure, emergency response, and enhance the educational and economic opportunities for our region. Included in those figures for Macon County are:

• Town of Franklin Water and Sewer Needs – $175,000

• Highlands Water and Sewer Needs – $100,000

• Macon County Greenway Project – $250,000

• Southwestern Community College capital projects – $5 million; and expansion of Macon County campus – $1.1 million

Second Term Objectives

A few items are still a work in progress. These projects are on my radar once again as the legislative session approaches:

– HB81: In-State Tuition Pilot Program, would require the State Board of Community Colleges to create a four-year pilot program for residents of certain border counties in Georgia to receive in-State tuition at Tri-County Community College. HB81 successfully passed the House by a vote of 115-1. However, the Senate did not hear the bill in committee, and will need to be reintroduced for reconsideration.

– HB94: Graham County Occupancy Tax, would create a special taxing district outside the incorporated areas of the county and authorize that special taxing district to levy a 3% room occupancy tax. The proceeds would be deposited into a special fund. At least two-thirds of the proceeds would have to be used for tourism promotion and the remainder for tourism related expenditures. The bill passed the House 109-9 but was not heard in the Senate.

– Trout Farm Discharge Permit Changes: I will be focused on rescinding overburdensome regulatory changes that negatively affect trout farms in North Carolina. Commercial trout farming is essential to N.C.’s economy and after the heavy burden placed on the industry due to reduced capacity at restaurants and other COVID-19 restrictions, it is important to protect this sector of agricultural business.

New regulatory burdens were imposed on the industry without legislative approval. After numerous meetings were held for the better part of 2022 with the state agency responsible for the permit changes, the agency was unwilling to rescind the changes or provide a compromise between the affected industry and state officials. I will be looking to address this issue.