Legislative update: House pushes for new historic preservation tax credit; Southport residents could see lower electric rates

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Historic preservation tax credits are once again a topic of discussion in Raleigh.

N.C. House members hosted a press conference last week to discuss the significance of House Bill 152, the new historic preservation tax credit.

“After two days of debate and three defeated amendments, the N.C. House passed House Bill 152 with an overwhelming 98-15 third reading vote,” N.C. Rep. Stephen Ross, a primary co-sponsor of the bill, said. “There was overwhelming bipartisan support in the House, and now we need to carry that support on to the Senate.”

City and county officials recently told the local legislative delegation that historic preservation tax credits were among their legislative priorities for the coming year after a grant renewal did not make it into this year’s state budget.

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Over the years, Historic Tax Credits have been used in 90 of the 100 counties by businesses and homeowners in both rural and urban areas, according to a news release from N.C. House Speaker Moore. “The credits have contributed to our economy by creating jobs, while also preserving the historic identity of our local communities,” Moore said.

Since 1998, more than 2,400 historic tax credit projects have been completed statewide, bringing over $1.6 billion of private investment into North Carolina communities. The New Historic Tax Credits has limited eligible properties to only those listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

N.C. Eastern Municipal Power Agency

Southport is among 32 municipalities in eastern North Carolina that could benefit Senate Bill 305, which was ratified Thursday. McCrory said the legislation is “expected to lower electric rates for consumers in eastern North Carolina and help attract new jobs to the region.”

The new law will allow Duke Energy Progress to purchase generation assets from the 32 municipalities that make up the N.C. Eastern Municipal Power Agency (NCEMPA). The $1.2 billion purchase “will significantly lower the agency’s debt load from $1.9 billion to approximately $480 million,” according to a press release from McCrory’s office.

“This purchase provides a private sector, market-driven solution to a major economic development obstacle we faced in eastern North Carolina,” McCrory said. “The lower electric rates this purchase should produce will save consumers money and make the region more attractive to job creators who want to take advantage of the region’s talented workforce and special quality of life.”

The proposed purchase has been approved by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, the North Carolina Utilities Commission and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, but the 32 cities that make up the NCEMPA must also vote to approve the sale, according to a press release from McCrory’s office.

The House convenes at noon Monday; the Senate convenes at 3 p.m. Monday.

Read related story: Gov. McCrory signs bill to lower N.C. gas tax