NC Lawmakers Hearing from Solar Workers, Small Biz Owners
Updated Tuesday 6:10 am
Hundreds of North Carolina small business owners and solar power workers are coming to Raleigh to talk to and hear from legislators.
General Assembly leaders were scheduled to speak Tuesday to National Federation of Independent Business members visiting the Legislative Building. The federation has been pleased with the state's recent repayment of $2.8 billion in debt owed the federal government for unemployment benefits. It means unemployment insurance taxes that business pays will fall.
The solar industry workers want lawmakers to be careful about legislation that would pull back on renewable energy mandates or pull the plug on renewable energy tax credits. They say the policies have helped build the industry and eliminating or changing policies quickly could mean lost jobs and deflate a growing state business sector.
Three technology and social media giants with North Carolina operations want legislative leaders to back away from changing a 2007 law requiring utilities to get increasing percentages of electricity they sell from renewables and efficiencies.
Apple, Facebook and Google put their names to a letter this week originating from a trade group to House Speaker Tim Moore and Senate leader Phil Berger.
The companies operate data centers in three western counties. They wrote they don't want legislation to pass that would freeze current Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard levels. They said they came to North Carolina in part due to its energy policy and believe such standards reduce ratepayer costs.
Critics of the standard say it's raising consumer electricity bills and other prices, and it's a giveaway to the solar industry.