RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- As happens every new year, new laws are set to take effect in North Carolina on Jan. 1.
Some receive little fanfare, others have major effects on life in the Tar Heel State,
In 2023, a new state law will limit the governor's powers.
The changes to emergencies are a response by Republican politicians and their allies to Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper's authority to issue a coronavirus declaration in March 2020 and to extend it unilaterally on his own. Those orders served as the basis for governments to restrict retail business activity and public events, and to direct social distancing. Cooper ultimately ended the COVID-19 emergency declaration in August - 29 months later.
One law brings good financial news -- the state individual income tax rate will be 4.75%, a drop from 4.99% in 2022. Even better, the individual income tax rate is set to drop to 3.99% by 2026.
Most income earners will see the latest lower rate reflected in how much tax is removed from their paychecks in 2023 and when they file their tax returns in early 2024. The budget law also directs and simplifies the business franchise tax in a way that should reduce the tax amount for North Carolina-based businesses.
On the other hand, gas prices could go up. North Carolina's fuel tax, already one of the highest in the country at 38.5 cents per gallon, will be bumped up to 40.5 cents per gallon. By comparison, South Carolina has a 28 cent tax, Tennessee has a 27 cent tax and Virginia has a 28 cent tax.
A couple new laws have laid out the plan for government officials to move the state's prison and probation systems out from under the Department of Public Safety to the Cabinet-level adult correction agency. A similar stand-alone correction department was operating barely a decade ago before it was merged into the public safety department. Cooper has already picked previous state prisons commissioner Todd Ishee to become the new adult correction secretary.
And another new law is designed to counter organized theft at retail stores by discouraging the sale of those stolen items by third parties on websites such as Amazon or Facebook.
Provisions that took effect in December increased penalties for large-scale thefts. Starting in 2023, "high-volume" third-party sellers must provide certain contact and identifying information to a marketplace that they are using. The marketplace also must suspend sales when such a seller refuses to provide information or gives false information.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.