The North Carolina General Assembly reconvenes for its long session today, and it could mark the renewal of the state's historic tax credits.
Those tax credits expired at the end of 2014. Preservationists want them back.
High Point's John Faircloth (R-61) is entering his third term in the state House. He wants the legislature to look at the tax credits again as a way to help local governments deal with their aging buildings.
“We need to find ways to encourage people – particularly in our area here in the Piedmont where we have so many historical structures, many of them large mills and other types - we just can't ignore and have them fall down,” he says.
Faircloth led a meeting in Greensboro last month with the Guilford County legislative delegation, and the historic tax credits were among the key issues raised.
Faircloth says the General Assembly will also likely look at restoring another expired tax credit, those for the film industry. Critics have said losing those credits has led some filmmakers to leave North Carolina.
“I think it's probably a little better chance that we would openly look at the historic tax credits than the film program, but I think both of them will be discussed,” he says.
Another issue the legislature will face is the cleanup of the state's coal ash pits. Last year the legislature reacted to the massive Duke Energy coal ash spill in Eden with new legislation that put a deadline on cleaning the aging pits. Environmentalists are pushing the state to move more aggressively.
Faircloth said the spill was a fiasco that caused the legislature to look at the long-dormant issue, but he says the state is on the right track to cleanup and he doesn't foresee any legislative action this session.