This morning, the Rocky Mount Area Chamber of Commerce hosted a forum with its members providing an overview of the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline for natural gas, to be built by Virginia-based Dominion. The pipe would delivery natural gas from active drilling sites in West Virginia and Pennsylvania to gas distribution networks, power plants and other customers along the east coast, primarily in Virginia and North Carolina.
The presentation (video embed below) featured remarks by Bruce McKay, Senior Policy Advisor for Federal Affairs with Dominion, and Rich Worsinger, Energy Resources Director for the City of Rocky Mount. The Eastern North Carolina cities of Rocky Mount, Wilson and Greenville are among 8 municipalities in the state that run natural gas distribution systems for residential, business and industrial customers.
One of the points made during the presentation pertained to the tax value of the pipeline within the jurisdictions it will be run. McKay estimated the pipeline will generate $6 million in property tax revenue for North Carolina counties on an annual basis, specifically mentioning Nash County receiving approximately $750,000 per year. The pipeline will also increase gas supply for customer utilization throughout Eastern North Carolina, creating greater opportunities for economic development requiring the resource.
Keith Lane, Senior Budget Analyst in Durham County, shared an updated report on sales tax revenues for all 100 North Carolina counties, showing significant increases for most, along with lower refunds levels.
North Carolina Senate leaders are putting together a plan to redistribute local sales tax revenues. Article 39 revenues, currently distributed on the basis of point of sale (by County) would be distributed instead on the basis of distribution of Statewide population. Initial analysis, as reported by the media, indicate 80 rural counties would see increases in local sales tax revenues, while 20 urban counties would see decreases.
Under a per-capita plan, many higher-poverty, more rural counties such as Greene, Caswell and Jones, would see their sales tax revenues more than double.
Mecklenburg County and its towns and cities would lose about $35 million, a 16 percent drop.
Wake County and its cities and towns would collectively see a drop of about $18 million, or 13 percent, according to the projections by legislative staff.
Raleigh’s share of the loss would be about $8 million, according to documents.
Keith Lane prepared a County-by-County analysis of the impact of the proposed reforms, based on what is known at present about the likely reform plan. Anyone interested in checking the current estimation to ensure validity should contact Keith directly, email@example.com.
Significant discussion has taken place recently about efforts by the McCrory Administration to restore the State’s Historic Preservation Tax Credit and replenish available incentive funds under the revised JobGRO Program (formerly JDIG). NC Commerce officials presented their plan for JOBGro during Tuesday’s Senate Finance Committee meeting, and were met by criticism by some Senators concerned about past distribution of incentives and likely benefits of such a program. Information on these program, and their impact on jobs, are available for download below:
Last week, Golden Leaf Foundation President Dan Gerlach provided an overview of their economic development purposes to the Rocky Mount Area Jaycees. You can view the slide presentation here, or watch it below (Starts at 1:39).
Wells-Fargo March Economic Outlook
Check out their latest discussion broadcast below:
Crude Retreating Again, Outlook Relatively Stable, Gas Prices Slightly Declining
After several weeks of recovery in crude oil and approximately 20% increases in gasoline prices from winter lows, prices are following back down for both commodities. The biggest loser is crude, with April 2015 contract down below $45/bbl.
The EIA Energy Outlook does see crude prices returning to $75/bbl by the end of the year, with gasoline price stabilizing close to the current $2.40-$2.50/gallon nation average.
Statewide averages have fallen again to around $2.30/gallon. This does not appear to be lessening the gap with our neighbors in South Carolina, which are approximately 18 to 20 cents/gallon cheaper.
NC Leading Indicators Downward Since Fall
Dr. Michael Walden’s Index of North Carolina’s Leading Economic Indicators fell 1.7% in January, the fourth of the past six months to see a decline
First-time unemployment claims picked up 12% in January, though they remain nearly 18% below their level a year ago. Building permit activity also decreased 16%, though they remain 4% compared to last January.
“The correct interpretation from these results is that the state economy will continue to expand, but the rate of expansion may soon begin to lag. While certainly not worthy of an “R” (recession) warning, it will be important to note in coming months if improvements begin to taper as the economic recovery reaches its sixth anniversary.”
What motivates you to be a local government budget professional?
NCLGBA events are a great opportunity to enhance professional skills and network with hundreds of your colleagues. Whatever motivates you to slog through budget requests and re-add numbers that don’t add up, twice a year we gather to share, compare notes and learn from each other. And — to welcome new budgeteers!
The NCLGBA board is excited to extend financial support, to go along with that offer of welcome, through the 2015 NCLGBA Conference Scholarship Program. First-time conference attendees — whether current Masters’ of Public Administration or Public Policy students, interns or otherwise new to our field — can apply for a scholarship to join us in education, networking and advocacy. The scholarship provides conference registration and two nights hotel stay to attend the upcoming summer conference July 8-10, 2015 at Shell Island Resort or our winter conference in December 2015.
We ask applicants about their motivation for becoming (or studying to become) a local government budget professional and about how we, as budget professionals, can each impact the community. Please pass along the attached application to the new person in your office, the interns, or MPA/MPP students who may be interested in this scholarship opportunity. Encourage them to participate in the NCLGBA, and to consider what motivates them as they enter our field and share what motivates you.