Commissioners from Brunswick, Pender, and New Hanover Counties just returned from a four-day trip to Washington, D.C.
The regional caucus participated in setting a federal legislative agenda for counties across the country as part of the National Association of Counties.
County officials also had the chance to bend the collective ear of the southeastern North Carolina delegation – which includes Senators Thom Tillis (R-NC) and Richard Burr (R-NC) and Representative David Rouzer (R-NC).
New Hanover County Commissioner Rob Zapple says top priorities for counties around the country include opposing any expansion of the Clean Water Act until further studies are done and passing the Marketplace Fairness Act – which would allow the collection of sales tax on internet purchases.
"It’s legislation that’s been there. Right now, there’s $23 billion – that’s with a ‘b’ – that’s not being collected nationwide. In North Carolina alone, that works out to $120 million and for us locally, that would filter down to $2-3 million in revenue from online sales tax that should be collected right now and isn’t."
The tax-exempt status of municipal bonds is on the chopping block – which puts that issue at the top of the list for the National Association of Counties. It’s the tax-free status that makes the bonds attractive to larger investors at a lower cost to municipalities.
Zapple says local county commissioners also spoke with Burr, Tillis and Rouzer about keeping federal funding for the Coastal Storm Damage Reduction program.
The delegation from New Hanover County included Chairman Jonathan Barfield, Manager Chris Coudriet, and Zapple.
Rob Zapple is a member of the Board of Friends of Public Radio, WHQR’s governing body.