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Headline Roundup: House Votes Down Sales Tax Cap, Allegiant Air Adds Flights At Concord, More

The North Carolina House has voted down a bill to cap county sales taxes and create a new economic development partnership for the state. The vote also effectively kills a measure that would've fixed funding for teacher assistants. The Senate stipulated that the teacher assistant funding bill wouldn't go into effect unless the House passed the sales tax bill.

Also in the legislature today, House Speaker Thom Tillis (R-Mecklenburg) announced House and Senate leaders may have reached an agreement to pass a bill dealing with coal ash. Senator Tom Apodaca (R-Henderson) responded by saying a deal was close, though he cautioned that nothing ahs been signed yet.

Allegiant Air Adds Another Florida Flight At Concord Regional Airport
Allegiant Air is adding flights between Concord Regional Airport and the Tampa Bay, Florida area. The discount airline started selling tickets today for twice-weekly flights to and from St. Petersburg-Clearwater International Airport. Round trip tickets for the route start at $93. The first flights will be November 13. 

Last December, Allegiant became th only airline to offer regularly scheduled flights from Concord with its service to Orlando. 

The City of Concord says the additional flights will create 10 to 12 new jombs with an independent contractor.

Sonic Automotive Gets Into Used Car Business
Sonic Automotive, the Charlotte-based company founded by Bruton Smith, says it's creating a chain of stand-alone used car dealerships similar to CarMax. The stores will be called Echo Park and are scheduled to open in November starting in Colorado.

Sonic Automotive operates more that 100 dealerships in 15 states.   

Judge Hears Testimony Today Regarding NC "Opportunity Scholarships"
Superior Court Judge Robert Hobgood heard several hours of testimony today on North Carolina's Opportunity Scholarship program. 

The voucher program provides up to $4,200 to families who want to send their children to private schools. Taxpayer and teacher groups, as well as many of the state's school board, say the program in unconstitutional. 

Hobgood blocked the Opportunity Scholarship program in February until there could be a trial on the issue, but the state Supreme Court overturned his ruling in Mar. 

More that 5,500 families applied for vouchers. The state gave out the first round of grant money on Friday - $730,000 to more that 360 students. 

Wake County Celebrates One Million Mark
Wake County's population is expected to hit one million people this week. That's according to numbers from the Raleigh News and Observer. The paper reports demographics experts say Wake County adds about 60 people each day.

Mecklenburg County hit the one million mark in September 2012. Mecklenburg's population grows by about 70 people a day. 

Wake County commissioners celebrated the growing population Monday with two cakes decorated with demographic data.