Bill Summary for H 943 (2015-2016)

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Summary date: 

Aug 3 2015

Bill Information:

View NCGA Bill Details2015-2016 Session
House Bill 943 (Public) Filed Monday, August 3, 2015
Intro. by Rules, Calendar, and Operations of the House.

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Bill summary

States the purpose of the act and sets out the General Assembly’s findings. Sets out and defines the terms bonds, cost, credit facility agreement, notes, par formula, and State, as they are used in the act.

Subject to approval by qualified voters at the November 2015 general election, authorizes the State Treasurer to issue and sell general obligation bonds designated as “State of North Carolina Public Improvement Bonds” in an amount not to exceed $2,859,076,952.  Specifies that for public improvement bonds authorized for transportation projects, it is the General Assembly’s intent that the debt service on those bonds will be provided from amounts deposited to the Highway Trust Fund.

Sets out projects to be funded by the bonds in the following specified categories: Agriculture ($195 million); Attractions, Parks, and Historic Sites ($135,050,000); Local Parks and Infrastructure ($85 million); National Guard and Military ($92,751,623); NC Community Colleges ($300 million); Public Instruction ($500 million); Public Safety ($46,725,000); State Agencies ($215 million); Transportation ($400 million); University of North Carolina ($889,550,329).

Sets out seven special allocation provisions that apply to the use of the proceeds of public improvement bonds and notes, including: (1) the proceeds of public improvement bonds and notes for State Parks must be used for capital improvements; any items purchased with such proceeds and installed or replaced as part of a renovation or rehabilitation must have a useful life of at least 10 years or must extend the life of the facility by at least 10 years once renovated or rehabilitated; (2) sets conditions on and allocates specified amounts for specified purposes, from the proceeds of public improvement bonds and notes for public instruction for public schools capital assistance; and (3) requires the proceeds of public improvement bonds and notes for statewide supplemental highway funding for transportation be issued only for highway projects satisfying the following: an environmental impact statement, if required, was completed prior to January 1, 2015; construction on the project is projected by the Department of Transportation to commence by January 1, 2017; and the project meets the requirements set forth in Article 14B of GS Chapter 136.

Sets out the conditions under which the General Assembly may increase or decrease the allocation of the proceeds of public improvement bonds and notes, or reallocate any amounts among agencies or non-transportation projects; sets out separate provisions governing transportation projects.

Sets out procedures to be followed by the State Treasurer in allocating and tracking the bond proceeds.

Sets out the procedure for conducting the election and specifies the question that is to be placed on the ballot. Provides that if a majority of those voting on the bond question vote in favor of the issuance of the bonds, those bonds may be issued as provided in the act.

Sets out requirements for the issuance of the bonds and notes, including allowing bonds or notes to be issued as certificated or uncertificated obligations, setting out required signatures, and providing for the manner of sale of the bonds or notes. Exempts bonds and notes from all state, county, and municipal taxation or assessment, excluding inheritance and gift taxes, income taxes on the gain from the transfer of bonds and notes, and franchise taxes. Also specifies that the interest on bonds and notes will not be subject to taxation as to income.

Sets out guidance for interpreting the act, including a severability clause.

Establishes reporting guidelines for entities receiving the proceeds of public improvement bonds and notes.

Prohibits the State Treasurer from issuing bonds or notes otherwise authorized by the act in an amount or year where the issuance of the bonds or notes would violate the Debt Affordability Advisory Committee's recommendations on debt  capacities required under GS 142-101.

Requires that other than for projects for DENR Statewide Children With Disabilities and Veterans With Disabilities Local Parks (Matching Grants), NC Community Colleges, projects for Public Instruction, DENR Statewide Water/Sewer Loans, and AOC Statewide Courthouse Grants, projects funded in whole or in part with the proceeds of public improvement bonds and notes, the portion of funds estimated to be needed for escalation of costs must remain with the Office of State Budget and Management and is to be disbursed only to: (1) address unforeseen contingencies related to the specific project for which the funds were made available or (2) address inflation costs related to that specific project. Requires any such funds retained by the Office of State Budget and Management at the time a project is completed to be retained by the Office until the General Assembly has reallocated it for other purposes. Requires a report on any funds retained, within 90 days of a project's completion.

Provides that transfers of voters from a given precinct, for the purpose of voting, to an adjacent precinct for the election held in November of 2015 are for that election only and do not apply to any subsequent election.

Requires the Department of Public Safety to take appropriate measures, including maximizing the use of the Inmate Construction Program, to reduce costs related to construction of correctional projects authorized in SL 2007-323, as amended. Allows the Department, with the approval of the Office of State Budget and Management, to use the funds from any savings generated, together with available funds, to finance the capital facility costs of renovating existing space at Central Prison for bed space for long-term palliative care. Provides that no additional special indebtedness may be issued or incurred to finance the construction of bed space for such care; the use of funds authorized by this section do not require further approval by the Council of State.