Formed in September 2019 by local business leaders, the organization is focused on connecting interns working in Delaware with the local culture, economy, business leaders, and opportunities.
In the current environment, more than 70 percent of graduates from local colleges and universities are moving outside of Delaware to start their careers, creating a talent drain in the state, the group noted.
Intern Delaware will support companies throughout the state in attracting and retaining intellectual capital by providing their interns with a series of experiential marketing events that highlight Delaware and run parallel with their corporate internship programs.
“In our initial cohort, we are bringing over 350 like-minded individuals together from 21 corporate partners to experience Delaware,” commented Scott Malfitano, co-founder and board chair of Intern Delaware. “These interns will be provided access to signature events, discounts to local merchants, and opportunities to take part in a dynamic summer program designed to open their eyes to all that Delaware has to offer.”
Intern Delaware has initially collaborated with 21 local companies, along with local colleges and universities. Partner companies include Adesis, Agilent, Big Fish Restaurant Group, Buccini-Pollin Group, Capital One, Chemours, Christiana Care, CompassRed, CSC, DowDuPont, EDiS, Epic Research, Goodwill of Delaware and Delaware County, Highmark, Kelly Benefits, M&T Bank, Marlette Funding, The Mill, White Dog Labs, Wohlsen Construction Company, and WSFS Bank.
In addition to higher unemployment and poor economic rankings, Delaware’s economy is projected to shrink within the next 6 months.
Delaware is one of only 9 states whose economy is projected to contract in that period.
“The leading index for Delaware was -0.7 in November. The state’s coincident index decreased, and building permits decreased in November. Additionally, the index of delivery times from the Institute for Supply Management’s manufacturingsurvey increased in November, while initial unemployment claims decreased. Overall, Delaware’s leading index forNovember suggests contraction in the state’s economy in the second quarter of 2020.”
DOVER — Gov. John Carney’s budget proposal includes what would be both the largest operating and largest capital sums in state history. It contains a 2 percent pay raise for state employees and directs much of the state’s expected excess revenue to one-time projects like construction, building maintenance and water treatment.
The governor’s recommended operating budget totals $4.63 billion in recurring expenses and $9.9 million in a separate one-time spending bill, while the capital bond bill comes to $893 million. The general spending plan for the fiscal year started July 1 is $4.45 billion, along with $62 million in a one-time supplement.
The current bond bill, the largest in state history, is $863 million.
Of the $178 million operating increase, about $36.5 million would go to school enrollment growth, while $29.3 million would cover a raise for most of the state’s tens of thousands of employees. Collectively bargained workers like police and correctional officers would not be covered.
Teachers received 2 percent raises in each of the past two years, with most other state employees pocketing an extra $1,000 each year. The proposed 2 percent increase across the board means employees who earn less than $50,000 will see a smaller bump, while those at the upper end of the pay scale will benefit from an amount several times larger than the one handed out last year.
Delaware’s top two lawmakers are setting a deadline for when lawmakers can consider bills this year.
The goal is to lower the number of bills that are hastily passed through both chambers in the final days of session and “ensure as smooth an end of legislative session as possible,” according to a Wednesday news release from House Speaker Pete Schwartzkopf, D-Rehoboth Beach, and Senate President Pro Tempore David McBride, D-Hawk’s Nest.
The new rule says that June 10, 2020 is the last day that either the House or Senate chamber’s committees can consider bills that originate in their respective chambers.
In other words, it would be the last day House committees could consider House bills, and Senate committees could consider Senate bills, the release says.
That’s well before the General Assembly’s official deadline for the end of session, June 30. Wednesday’s announcement comes during the second week of the six-month 2020 session.
“These changes will result in a fairer and more transparent process during the hectic, final days of the legislative session,” McBride said in a statement included with the release. “This is the right thing to do for our members and the voters who entrusted us to represent them.”
In Sussex County, one of Delaware’s most rural, and fastest-growing, areas, there are only three hospitals in more than 1,000 square miles. In August, plans to bring an emergency medical center for the Georgetown area were squashed when the Delaware Health Resources Board denied Beebe Healthcare’s application to expand.
It was one of the most recent casualties of Delaware’s outdated, harmful certificate-of-need (CON) laws, which require health care providers to prove to the state that there’s a need for new facilities, devices and technologies before they can expand or upgrade.
The result is a health care a market where competition is unfairly limited and select health providers are able to get a stranglehold on competition. It’s the people of Delaware who ultimately suffer, faced with inflated prices and limited options for care. Groups like A Better Delaware are advocating for change and educating consumers about laws like these that can negatively affect them.
As some felt the laws did not reduce costs or improve access as intended, in 1986 the federal CON laws mandate was repealed. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and Department of Justice (DOJ) Anti-Trust Division have pushed for the repeal of CON laws in the remaining 35 states – including Delaware – that maintain them.
How we’re impacted
In Delaware, proponents of change like A Better Delaware say that CON laws create a barrier to entry into the market, inhibit expansion, and, as we’ve seen recently in Sussex County, fail to provide adequate health care services in some areas.
Advocates of CON laws argue that they help the health care system by preventing duplication and keep prices down by restricting competition, but this contradicts the basic tenets of supply and demand. Instead, patients are forced to pay a higher price for care in older facilities with outdated equipment.
A report by the Mercatus Center at George Mason University estimates that by removing CON laws, Delaware could see a $270 saving on total health care per capita and $99 savings in physician spending per capita. The same study estimated increased access to services with a 42% increase in total hospitals and 17% increase in the number of ambulatory surgical centers.
In short, residents of the First State would have better access to care, and would pay less for it.
The benefits of repeal don’t stop there. The evidence from the Mercatus report suggests that hospital readmission, post-surgery complications and mortality rates would decrease in the absence of CON laws. Innovation and quality of health care would rise, in a market full of opportunity.
Delaware has had harmful CON laws on the books since 1978. Forty-one years later, it’s time to reevaluate, and make decisions that serve the health and well-being of every Delawarean.
DOVER — In 2017, facing a budget crunch, legislators cut a school property tax subsidy for seniors by 20 percent, reducing it from $500 to $400. Since then, the state’s financial situation has improved considerably, prompting a number of lawmakers to stump for restoring the credit to its prior amount.
Established in the 1990s as part of an effort to discourage seniors, who are more likely than other residents not to have ties to local school districts, from voting against referendums, the tax break has come under fire and seen changes before 2017.
In 2015, then Gov. Jack Markell proposed halving the subsidy, noting the number of individuals age 65 or older in Delaware was steadily climbing and was not projected to stop. His recommendation faced fierce pushback however, with many arguing slashing the subsidy would be unfair to seniors on fixed incomes.
In 2017, legislators voted to change the residency requirement from three to 10 years. One year later, they approved a bill that would set a means-testing requirement, preventing seniors making more than $50,000 a year from receiving it.
However, Gov. John Carney vetoed the means-testing measure, saying it would create logistical problems and should be done as part of a broader effort.
Unlike the states identified in the study, Delaware did not see substantial changes to taxation policies studied by the Tax Foundation. These policies analyzed included states’ individual or corporate income tax rates; sales tax rates; taxation policies on remote sales, marijuana or vapor products; and other reforms.
Many states in recent years have enacted new tax policies in the wake of the federal government’s major overhaul of corporate and individual taxes in 2017 and the U.S. Supreme Court’s South Dakota v. Wayfair ruling, according to the Tax Foundation analysis. The Wayfair decisions reshaped the process of taxing the sale of products on the internet.
The Tax Foundation expects the pace of tax reform activities at the state level to continue into the coming year.
The redevelopment of South Wilmington, long planned to mirror changes that occurred along the Christina River’s northern banks, will be fueled in part by money from newcomers to the city.
Near the southern approaches of the Walnut Street bridge, across from the structurally troubled Christiana Landing townhomes, Washington Place Equities of Baltimore is planning to build the area’s first new apartments in years.
By the middle of 2021, the developer hopes to open the first of its twin 150-unit structures, called Riverhouse I and II, along A Street.
Subsequent construction on the second building will bring 300 new apartments to the geographically isolated area, which in 2010 had a population of just 8,000.
The 5-story buildings should be complete after the opening of a nearby $27 million wetlands park, and a $28 million Christina River bridge that connects to the Wilmington Riverfront.
The projects add to a litany of other changes impacting the working-class Southbridge neighborhood, including the opening of a local bank and the arrival of a union training center.
Delaware lawmakers returned from their six-month break Tuesday to everything they weren’t able to get done last year — and a projected surplus of about $200 million.
For many divisive issues such as legal weed, gun control and a $15 minimum wage, it’s not clear if much has changed since lawmakers left in July.
But surplus cash no doubt will ignite new debates about how and where it should be spent.
It could mean more money to spend on government-paid projects, such as school renovations or road repairs. But it’s also a source of anxiety for the General Assembly’s top leaders, who don’t always agree with the governor, or one another, about where it’s needed the most.
“It’s more difficult to run the Legislature when you have a surplus than when you have a deficit,” said House Majority Leader Valerie Longhurst, D-Bear. “Everybody will be down in Legislative Hall putting their hands out.”
The Democratic governor and some Republicans are pushing for the extra money to go to one-time expenses, stressing that the state needs to be careful because future years may not be as fortunate. That translates into not starting programs that require future dollars.