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Bayhealth proposes $19 million project that would add beds at Sussex Campus

From Delaware Business Now

Bayhealth, the state’s second-largest hospital system, recently presented a Certificate of Public Review to the Delaware Health Resources Board requesting approval to add additional inpatient beds, as well as a C-section suite at Bayhealth Hospital, Sussex Campus.

The estimate for the expansion is $19 million. The Sussex Campus had a price tag estimated at between $275 million to $300 million.

“After our move to the Sussex Campus in early 2019, we saw significant growth in admissions, observation cases, and the number of babies born,” said Bayhealth CEO Terry Murphy. “Sussex County is undergoing significant population growth, which we anticipate will further increase the need for services and we want to be prepared to meet that need.”

The proposal calls for additional medical/surgical beds to be located in 17,300 square feet of available space on the fifth floor of the building. Existing space will be converted into 24 acuity adaptable private patient beds. Acuity adaptable refers to the patient being able to stay in the unit between admission and discharge, an approach that can save money and improve care.

Five women’s services beds will be added to the third floor, which will require renovating existing administrative office space into private patient rooms. The C-section suite will be constructed nearby in 1,500 square feet of shelled space.

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2021 State Business Tax Climate Index

From the Tax Foundation

Delaware’s overall rank in the 2021 State Business Tax Climate Index was 13th nationally, but 50th for corporate taxes and 42nd for individual taxes.

The Tax Foundation’s State Business Tax Climate Index enables business leaders, government policymakers, and taxpayers to gauge how their states’ tax systems compare. While there are many ways to show how much is collected in taxes by state governments, the Index is designed to show how well states structure their tax systems and provides a road map for improvement.

Read the report

Decade-old land deal prompts political backlash, legal fight

From Delaware Online

In late 2008, with the real estate market in free fall, a land-hungry Delaware Department of Transportation purchased two parcels of rural flatland next to Route 1 south of Dover for nearly $2.8 million.

Ten years later, it sold the parcels for $270,000 to influential lawyer and developer John Paradee. It was a price the state says reflected a DelDOT decree that the land would never gain a direct commercial turn-on or turnoff from the adjacent highway – Delaware’s primary north-south artery.

Today, those deals and their multimillion-dollar price discrepancies are attracting controversy, manifested as political assaults on Delaware’s Democratic Party establishment just weeks before the November election.

The land sale also sits at the center of an ongoing lawsuit in Delaware’s business court over DelDOT’s potential granting of accesses from Route 1 to new commercial real estate projects in the Milford-to-Frederica corridor.

The suit is among the latest jockeying between developers seeking to win a race to riches in an area planned as the state’s next exurban hotbed, one whose growth may hinge on the success of the nearby taxpayer-subsidized youth sports complex, DE Turf.

At the center of it all is Paradee, who proclaims to be “widely recognized for his ability to secure approval for difficult or controversial projects.” In December 2018, he purchased the roughly 11 acres of DelDOT land with a team of investors. At 44%, Paradee’s stake is the largest in the partnership.

Combined with adjacent parcels, the land was intended to form the platform on which to build Asbury Square, a hotel, restaurant and retail development. It is one of three ambitiously proposed projects designed to capitalize on government’s push to encourage development in the corridor.

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Pro-worker mandates actually hurt workers

All policy—economic or social, conservative or liberal—has unintended consequences. Good policy would minimize the negative effects of the measure while best targeting the problem that is being addressed. When it comes to business-related legislation, we are far from good policy.

Take employer mandates like paid family leave and increased minimum wage for example. Both efforts seek to tackle an issue head on, and are branded as “pro-worker” legislation. In an isolated bubble, this may be true. However, in the real world, pro-worker measures inflict more damage than that they seek to heal.

If paid family leave looks to provide a better work life balance and support to families, then why is it ignored that the current proposals would result in smaller wages, layoffs, or impact social security? These side effects are pretty harmful to workers and their families as well.

Look at minimum wage. The entire argument in support of $15 per hour is based on the need for a livable wage for these workers. But what happens when their employer cannot afford the cost increase, and cannot raise their prices high enough to make up for it? Instead of a $15 hourly wage, many workers will be left with no hourly wage when they are laid off to accommodate the mandate. Zero dollars is certainly not a livable wage.

Video: What’s Killing the American Dream? from PragerU

Legislation and regulations that are anti-business are blatantly anti-worker and anti-jobs.

Small businesses are vastly important to the American and Delaware economy. Such critical establishments should be supported by their representatives, but unfortunately are not. In fact, it’s the opposite. Government regulation is killing small businesses—and killing the jobs they create as well.

Putting social goals over profits is misleading. Traditional profit-seeking entrepreneurship has benefits that span community, socio-economic status, race, and gender. Suppressing these profits will in turn suppress the benefits they provide to overall society.

Increases in regulatory restrictions are associated with declines in lower- and middle-skilled jobs, lower wages, reduced hours, layoffs. None of those things are pro-worker.

In a better informed government that weighed the consequences of feel good legislation, lawmakers would work across the aisle to support bills that actually promote job growth, support businesses, and strengthen the economy. This new approach would mean that our elected officials work for the people, instead of duping them.

The next time you hear a lawmaker, party representative, colleague, or friend denounce a pro-business policy for being anti-worker or for putting business over the people, consider how a business can support its workers when their operations take a hit, and why both sides can’t align on this issue.

True Access awarded $657,000 to launch Hispanic business loan program

From Delaware Business Now

True Access Capital, Wilmington (formerly First State Community Loan Fund) will expand its lending to minority-owned businesses, with an emphasis on Hispanic-owned businesses, with the help of a $657,000 award from the Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) Fund.

The fund is a program of the U.S. Department of the Treasury intended to increase lending in low-income and economically distressed communities.

“Delaware’s Hispanic businesses are rapidly growing in number and in size, and this award from the US Treasury’s CDFI program to True Access Capital will help fuel the continued growth of Hispanic entrepreneurs in Delaware,” U.S. Sen. Chris Coons said of the award. “Where some lenders saw risk, CDFI programs show us there is still ‘Blue Ocean’ in communities that are mistakenly overlooked.”

The CDFI grant will expand True Access Capital’s reach to minority-owned businesses, for whom credit access is a significant hurdle.

“We know our way around this unlevel playing field, and we’ve long helped minority business owners navigate it,” said Vandell Hampton, Jr., True Access Capital CEO. “The demand for business financing and development for Hispanic businesses has exploded in recent years, and we know that Hispanic business owners face the same challenges in accessing capital that African American entrepreneurs face, so this expansion of reach is a natural direction for us.”

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Up to $136 million will support statewide programs addressing COVID-19 impacts

From Delaware State News

NEW CASTLE  – Up to $136 million from the New Castle County’s federal CARES Act allocation will support six state-wide programs targeting unemployment insurance, childcare, coronavirus testing and more, New Castle County Executive Matt Meyer announced this week.

This funding will supplement the $927 million of CARES Act funding the state received directly from the federal government.

Mr. Meyer and the state developed a three-step approach for the funding agreement.

They determined the total cost of all six statewide programs, then determined the percentage of the cost of those six statewide programs for the benefit of county residents and businesses, and finally, determined the cost share between the state and New Castle County.

“We always work collaboratively with our federal, state and municipal governments but particularly in times of crisis,” Mr. Meyer said in a prepared statement. “My thanks to County Council, to the Governor’s office and to Delaware’s Office of Management and Budget to reach this agreement to help keep our community healthy and sustain our economy during this crisis.”

Statewide programs that New Castle County CARES Act funding will support the Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund, the essential childcare program, statewide testing, statewide contact tracing, an enhanced rent and utility program and a hospitality emergency loan program.

Based on actual unemployment claims through mid-September and estimates through the rest of the year, the total statewide amount of COVID-19 unemployment claims paid for the forty-two-week period, March 15 to Dec. 30, will be $273 million. Approximately 55% of the statewide claims are from residents in New Castle County. A county contribution up to $67.5 million will be made.

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Bayhealth to build $35M ER center, hybrid office near Milton

From Delaware Business Times

MILTON — One year after withdrawing an application for a freestanding emergency department 2 miles east of Harbeson, Bayhealth will be moving forward with opening an emergency room and walk-in care center within the next two years.

The $35 million facility will bring primary care physicians, specialists, diagnostic services and emergency care to southern Delaware on 18 acres near the intersection of Lewes-Georgetown Highway (Route 9) and Hudson Road. Early plans show a building measuring between 30,000 to 40,000 square feet and Bayhealth officials anticipate creating between 50 and 75 jobs. The walk-in center and emergency department approved by the Delaware Health Resources Board is estimated at $10.2 million.

Bayhealth’s Milton facility represents the health care system’s growing reach in southern Delaware and the announcement more than a year after opening a new $315 million facility in Milford. Bayhealth also partnered up with Nemours Children’s Health System on a new facility there, and Nemours will open primary care and senior care in November.

“Sussex County is growing at an exponential rate. The area directly surrounding the location of our new center, along Hudson Road and Route 9, is growing especially fast,” Bayhealth President and CEO Terry Murphy told Delaware Business Times. “There are also very few health care providers located in close proximity to our new site. This new location will provide our southern Delaware community with much-needed health care services all located in one convenient center.”

The land around Route 9 has one of the fastest  growing populations in Delaware, increasing 21% from 35,295 residents in 2010 to 42,729 in 2019, according to a study done by the marketing firm Claritas Company. The 65 and older population is particularly booming, growing nearly 60% in the same span to 10,135 residents. In the next four years, the overall population is projected to grow 8.2%, including an 18% growth in senior residents.

Beebe Healthcare, based in Lewes, has also been striving to meet the surge in people in the last decade. This spring, Beebe opened a freestanding emergency department and a cancer center at the Beebe South Coastal Health Campus near Millville. Construction work is also underway at Beebe’s $124 million surgical hospital on Route 24 near Rehoboth Beach with a target opening in 2022. Recent plans for a Milton campus recently were withdrawn.

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Killing jobs and cutting wages does not help workers

If Delaware wants to understand the ramifications of various employer mandates featured on many platforms this election season, they can look north to Connecticut. Connecticut’s proposed bills in 2018 included family and medical leave, expanded paid sick leave, and minimum wage hikes. The implementation and compliance costs of these mandates to taxpayers and businesses were estimated to be up to $530 million.

Connecticut Business and Industry Association President and CEO Joe Brennan expressed concern that long term talks about the difficulty of having one-size-fits-all mandates on employers applied to these bills as well. Added costs and administrative burdens expected to accompany these and similar measures are bad news for an economy as businesses will be forced to lower wages or cut jobs entirely.

You hear people ask, “Why not mandate that employers can’t do these harmful things?” Unfortunately, these things cost money that has to come from somewhere. Businesses are experts in finding ways to be able to stay afloat and keep their doors open and will have no option but to make cuts if saddled with these costs.

Connecticut’s paid leave benefits were set to be funded by mandatory deductions from employee wages, exchanging income for benefits. On top of this, taxpayers would fork over $18.6 million annually to administer these plans. The costs impact more than just the employees and tax payers: businesses’ bottom lines will be impacted, especially for companies that are operating on very small profit margins, like small businesses.

So what can businesses do?

The easy answer is to cut wages or cut jobs to make up the additional costs. Automation is rapidly expanding in the business world, and is a cheaper option in the long term to having increasingly expensive, and often unreliable, human labor. Robots could occupy 38% of jobs in the U.S. economy by 2030, and boost productivity, manage labor costs and improve operational predictability for large and small businesses. Small businesses like transportation and storage, manufacturing, retail and other industries, are the most likely to adopt these changes in the near-term. They’re also the ones who will be hardest hit by the proposed employer mandates.

In addition to or to avoid layoffs or automation, businesses could also raise prices to pass the cost onto the consumer. In this instance, the business still faces higher costs, but now the tax payer is paying twice to fund these mandates. If the costs become too high and sales suffer, layoffs are back on the table.

You can’t force a company to hire associates but you can certainly force them out of a burdensome state or country they can no longer afford to operate in—and they’ll take their jobs with them.

When our workers, small businesses, and overall economy are already struggling to get back on their feet after COVID, anything that could provide such widespread damage should be off the table. The 2021 Legislative Session should focus on helping Delaware workers and businesses, not forcing them into unemployment and bankruptcy. This election will determine if our workers and businesses can recover, or if costly and burdensome mandates will cause more job loss and small business struggle. Delawareans must make the best choice for the future this November.

As Delaware’s bioscience sector grows, space is in short supply

From Delaware Business Times

From the earliest scientific advancements made at DuPont more than two centuries ago to the brand-new cancer therapies being developed by Incyte, Delaware has a long history of laboratory-based research and development.

As the competition for those future-billion-dollar companies heats up, however, the First State is often at a disadvantage when it comes to retaining such startups. The state has fostered an environment of innovation, often connected through the University of Delaware, but it is now watching expanding companies seek out-of-state spaces to further their growth due to a lack of resources here.

According to a recent survey of 60 companies that utilize labs by the Delaware Prosperity Partnership (DPP), the state’s economic development agency, 12 anticipate needing more lab space within the next three years, totaling about 150,000 square feet. Only half of those companies said that they could accommodate that growth currently though, meaning tens of thousands of square feet of lab space need to be developed.

It’s not just about meeting the needs of Delaware’s current companies, however, but also attracting new prospects. DPP officials reported that over the past two and a half years, it has worked with 30 companies that were seeking lab space. It currently has 12 such companies in the pipeline, the majority of which need “graduated” lab space, or facilities containing more advanced features, measuring between 10,000 and 30,000 square feet. If able to be located, they could create upward of 400 well-paying jobs.

The challenge now is to continue to grow the innovative ecosystem for research in Delaware while also investing in new lab development to support their scaled growth. Neighboring competitors Maryland and Pennsylvania, which are home to hundreds of bioscience companies and have decades of financial backing and resources at their disposal, are ready and willing to poach those companies if progress isn’t made.

Bill Provine, president and CEO of the Delaware Innovation Space, a nonprofit incubator and accelerator that is home to 18 companies at the DuPont Experimental Station, agreed that more labs were needed in the state and that government aid may be needed to spur it.

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Policies will allow outdoor dining options in Rehoboth

From Delaware State News

REHOBOTH BEACH — As the weather starts to cool, Rehoboth Beach restaurants will be able to use outdoor space with heaters for dining options.

The Rehoboth commissioners approved a policy regarding the use of outdoor space Tuesday.

Restaurants must have a straight and continuous minimum of 5 feet of sidewalk in front of any outdoor seating that must be maintained at all times. Space allows pedestrians to move up and down the sidewalks without adjusting their path because of the outdoor seating.

The approved policy also requires that outdoor tables be set 8 feet apart from each other. A barrier is needed between the tables and the pedestrian path if a restaurant is serving alcohol. Commissioners also approved tents and canopies without sides to be used in outdoor dining areas.

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