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In The News

Bill to lower income tax fails in committee, but one to cut real estate tax passes

From: Delaware Live

Two Republican bills designed to take advantage of Delaware’s flush revenues found different fates Wednesday in the House Revenue and Finance Committee, with one failing to gain traction and the other earning unanimous support.

The first was House Bill 191, introduced by Rep. Rich Collins, R-Millsboro, which sought to cut all personal income tax brackets by 10%, cut the corporate tax rate from 8.7% to 6.1% and the gross receipts tax by 50%. It fell one vote short of being passed to the full House.

The second bill, House Bill 71, introduced by Rep. Mike Ramone, R-Pike Creek, would lower the real estate transfer tax from 4% to 3%. That bill is expected to advance to the House of Representatives for consideration later in the legislative session.

Collins said HB 191’s tax cuts would have spurred economic growth and created new jobs by giving a portion of the state’s revenue surplus back to the taxpayers.

According to the state’s Economic and Financial Advisory Council, Delaware will end the 2021 fiscal year with a budget surplus of more than $1 billon. In addition, DEFAC analysts predict FY 2022 will see $238.4 million in revenue which had not been previously anticipated.

Collins said that’s what prompted him to introduce HB 191.

Committee Chair Rep. Stephanie Bolden, D-Wilmington, argued the introduction of tax cuts was premature, who said the numbers Collins was working with were preliminary.

“We are still waiting for DEFAC numbers which will be on June 18, which may show us that we may have additional money where we can go back and give some things but we may not as well,” said Bolden.

She said that if the bill were released before the official figures came, they would be unable to account for unexpected changes in the budget predictions.

“I just think it might be a little premature at this particular time,” Bolden said.

There was no public comment on the income tax bill.

After the vote, Collins said that moving forward he would support any reduction in taxes that the committee and the Department of Finance would support.”

Ramone’s  bill to lower the real estate transfer tax from 4% to 3% came with a history lesson.

Homebuyers and sellers in Delaware now must pay 4% of the total cost of a real estate transaction when buying or selling a property, usually split between the two. This tax was increased from 3% in 2017 in what Ramone said was a temporary increase to counter budget shortfalls.

In 2019, the legislature voted to eliminate the sunset clause on the provision, making the 4% transfer tax permanent.

When the tax was increased in 2017, the rate went from “one of the highest in the region to one of the highest in the nation,” Ramone noted. Read more: Bill to lower income tax fails in committee, but one to cut real estate tax passes (delawarelive.com) 

General Assembly will allow public to observe sessions for first time since onset of pandemic

From Delaware Business Now!: When the Delaware General Assembly reconvenes its session on Tuesday, members of the public can observe sessions in Legislative Hall in limited numbers for the first time since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic.

For months, Republican legislators have been demanding the General Assembly resume normal operations, citing lower case numbers.

Republican-controlled legislatures around the nation have typically operated with fewer restrictions.

Legislative Hall has been closed to the public since March 2020 due to the global pandemic, which infected more than 10 percent of Delaware’s population and resulted in the deaths of more than 1,670 residents.

Lawmakers met virtually throughout 2020 and began the 151st General Assembly virtually before beginning a hybrid in-person session earlier  this spring.

However, space constraints inside Delaware’s Legislative Hall – one of the smallest statehouses in the nation – have previously made the public’s safe return impossible given previous social distancing requirements, according to Democratic leaders of both houses.

Gov. Carney’s latest State of Emergency order, which reduced social distancing requirements from six feet to three feet, combined with nearly half of all eligible Delawareans are now fully vaccinated, will allow the House and Senate to provide limited public seating inside Legislative Hall on session days. Read more: Delaware Business Now  

GOP bills seek to cut taxes

From :Bay to Bay News

DOVER — Republican-backed legislation awaiting action in the House of Representatives would cut taxes and provide tax credits to individuals.

Of the five bills, the most impactful and least likely to become law is House Bill 191. Sponsored by Rep. Rich Collins, R-Millsboro, the measure would cut taxes on personal income, gross business receipts and corporations.

Under the bill, each individual income tax bracket would be reduced by 10%. For instance, the lowest level, income between $2,000 and $5,001, would be taxed at 1.98%, instead of 2.2%, while the highest bracket, representing all income greater than $60,000, would go from 6.6% to 5.94%.

The corporate income tax would be slashed from 8.7% to 6.1%, and the gross receipts tax, which covers business revenue, would be sliced in half.

Though there is no analysis indicating the exact revenue impact of those changes yet, the House Republican caucus said it would save taxpayers more than $420 million a year. Read more here: https://baytobaynews.com/stories/gop-bills-seek-to-cut-taxes,49723