Remote N.C. House Committee Approves COVID-19 Response Act, Speaker Signals More Support for Small Businesses

Raleigh, N.C. – Draft legislation making emergency reforms to North Carolina’s tax and unemployment laws was unanimously approved in a remote, live-streamed meeting of the state House Select Committee on COVID-19’s Economic Support Working Group on Tuesday.

Additional bridge loans for small businesses were also added to the committee’s docket for further consideration and received support from state House Speaker Tim Moore (R-Cleveland) during the hearing. 
The ‘COVID-19 Response Act – Economic Support’ proposal approved by the committee would make immediate reforms to help North Carolina businesses, unemployed workers, and taxpayers through the pandemic.
It waives the accrual of interest on income, corporate, and franchise taxes until July 15, affirms crisis-level flexibility in the administration of unemployment benefits, and makes reforms recommended by the Division of Employment Security.
The proposal also gives additional time to take certain tax-related procedural actions and request tax refunds of prior over-payments, while streamlining processing of unemployment benefits for businesses and displaced workers.
“I certainly appreciate the cooperation that we’ve gotten through the committee to advance these proposals that will help North Carolina’s economy now,” committee co-chair Rep. Julia Howard (R-Davie) said Tuesday.
Co-chair Rep. Jason Saine (R-Lincoln) presided over the first-ever live streamed meeting of a remote North Carolina House Committee.
“Many of the actions this committee has considered, like attached claims for unemployment insurance applications, have since-been implemented by the administration through executive orders,” Rep. Saine said Tuesday.
“This shows the strong value we have added to North Carolina’s response, and these proposals are the next step.”
The committee also heard from state House Speaker Tim Moore (R-Cleveland) about a small business assistance proposal to appropriate additional funds to the Golden Leaf Foundation (GLF).
The bridge loan funding proposal would extend $25 million to small businesses and largely mimics the existing program that GLF has offered to adversely affected businesses following Hurricanes Matthew and Florence.
“The hope is to be able to increase this, and I can tell you the bill sponsors have worked very hard to this point knowing North Carolina businesses need all the help they can get right now,” Speaker Moore said to the committee Tuesday.
“The key is to balance what we do as a state in spending with our reduced tax collections and the relief we receive from the federal government, to extend maximum assistance for North Carolinians to support them through our economic reopening and recovery.”