In The News
A Better Delaware is a non-partisan public policy and political advocacy organization that supports pro-growth, pro-jobs policies and greater transparency and accountability in state government.
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In The News

Big Delaware-based breweries are picking other states to expand. This is why

From the News Journal

When commercial real estate agents brought Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant officials a possible location for a new brewpub, the site looked promising.

It was the former home of Don Pablo’s Mexican restaurant near the Christiana Mall, which closed in late 2018 after a 19-year-run.

Not only was the site in a high-traffic area, but the brewery had previously converted a former Don Pablo’s restaurant in South Carolina and it wasn’t a big job, thanks to Don Pablo’s brick buildings, which fit Iron Hill’s aesthetic.

But Iron Hill, which got its start on Newark’s Main Street in 1996 and has grown into a regional chain with 19 locations in five states, couldn’t pull the trigger on the deal for one reason: Delaware law.

Delaware Code states that a licensee is limited to three brewpubs in the state. And since Iron Hill already had spots in Newark, Wilmington and Rehoboth Beach, they were forced to expand elsewhere.

 

Read more: https://www.delawareonline.com/story/life/2019/10/10/legislators-looking-change-delaware-code-brewpubs/3906398002/

Economic changes push need for new workforce training

From Delaware State News

DOVER — The future of work is changing.

People born in 2019 will probably have very different career paths than their grandparents or even their parents.

Globalization, automation, computerization — the economy of the 21st century is shaping up to be dramatically different than the one that emerged after World War II and led to prosperity for so many Americans in the second half of the 1900s.

If the newest generations are to be successful, business leaders, education officials and policymakers will have to keep an eye to the future and make changes, several people said Tuesday at a conference on workforce development.

The event, hosted by the State Chamber of Commerce, was intended to shine a spotlight on issues companies face in finding qualified workers.
Despite the unemployment rate falling to pre-recession levels (including, earlier this year, the best months in that regard in 50 years), the state still has a scarcity of workers in many fields, especially blue-collar ones such as construction and autowork.

While it’s unknown what Delaware’s economy will look like in 20 years, it’s safe to say it probably won’t be predicated on the four Cs — chemicals, credit cards, cars and chickens — that have been so important to the state for decades.

 

Read more: https://delawarestatenews.net/news/economic-changes-push-need-for-new-workforce-training/

Iron Hill opts for production location in Exton, PA after inaction by General Assembly

From Delaware Business Now

After an unsuccessful effort to change a Delaware law that limits the number of breweries owned by one company, Wilmington-based Iron Hill has signed a lease to build a production brewery in Exton, PA.

The brewery is expected to open in the summer of 2020 at The Shops on Eagleview Boulevard (240 Eagleview Boulevard).

The location will be known as Iron Hill Brewery & Taphouse.

Iron Hill has three breweries in Delaware and needed a change in the law that limits it to that number. The state’s liquor laws also ban supermarket sales, while limiting the number of liquor stores owned by one entity to two.

Pennsylvania, while maintaining a system of state-owned liquor stores, has loosened regulations on sales of beer and wine at grocery and convenience stores.

 

Read more:

https://delawarebusinessnow.com/2019/09/iron-hill-opts-for-production-location-in-exton-pa-after-inaction-by-general-assembly/

Despite improvement, Delaware’s 2018 taxpayer burden still gets an F

From The News Journal

Most people have budgets to manage their money, pay their bills and save what is left.

Spending more money than you bring in can cause problems, and that’s why the Chicago-based think tank Truth in Accounting analyzes every state’s expenses and how much revenue they bring in.

Delaware is one of nine states to receive a grade F for its taxpayer burden. Those nine states would need additional money from taxpayers to pay off its bills.

Delaware would need an additional $27,100 per taxpayer to fully pay its bills each year, according to 2018 data released by TIA.

The taxpayer burden lowered to -$27,100 in 2018 from -$30,400 the year before. TIA calculated taxpayer burden by the state’s bills divided by the number of taxpayers.

“Though it got better,” said Sheila Weinberg, founder and CEO at TIA, “Delaware is more of an outlier because they don’t put enough money towards retirees’ health care liability and pension liability.”

Weinberg says Delaware saves 3 cents for every dollar for retirees’ health care liability. The only worst state is New York at 1 cent.

Read more:

https://www.delawareonline.com/story/news/politics/2019/09/30/despite-improvement-delawares-2018-taxpayer-burden-still-gets-f/2370396001/

Dover Mall expansion idles

From Delaware State News

DOVER — In 2017, extensive legislative groundwork was laid to significantly grow the almost 40-year-old Dover Mall.

The owners, Simon Property Group along with Western Development Corp., showcased blueprints that would add about 54,700 square feet for new stores to the current mall and build a “power center” to the east with 22 buildings covering more than 550,000 square feet.

The hitch that would make the expansion possible was a proposed Del. 1 toll road entrance on the east side of the mall that would cost an estimated $31 million to build.

A new road would allow for direct access to the expanded mall complex from the state’s arterial highway.

In the developers’ vision, the Dover Mall would start to resemble the Christiana Mall, which boasts 175 stores plus several outlying retail centers.
John Paradee, a Dover lawyer representing the firms, helped steer seven different pieces of legislation supporting the project in 2017.

“The Dover Mall is in jeopardy as it currently exists,” he said at the time.
Mr. Paradee claimed the construction of the access road would greatly enhance the mall’s profile, which would ultimately bring more companies and shoppers.

“We’re already talking to people who have told us, ‘if you build it, we will come,’” he said at the time.

Read more:

https://delawarestatenews.net/news/dover-mall-expansion-idles/

Christiana Care Health System, state’s largest private employer, to offer paid parental leave?

From the News Journal

Christiana Care Health System delivered good news to its employees Wednesday: It will start offering paid parental leave to employees — a benefit the state’s largest private employer has not previously offered.

Beginning July 2020, the health system will offer at least 12 weeks of paid parental leave to its 12,000 employees. The leave will only apply to employees who are parents for the birth, adoption or fostering of their child.

“We know that the bond formed between mother and child in the first few weeks of life can have a tremendous impact on the health of the baby and the well-being of the family,” Dr. Janice Nevin, the health system’s CEO, said in press release.

Nevin said in an email to employees that the issue became a focus for the administration last year after a survey about benefits.

Christiana’s move followed the Delaware General Assembly last year passing legislation to grant state employees 12 weeks of paid family leave. The state government is the largest employer in Delaware.

 

Read more:

https://www.delawareonline.com/story/news/health/2019/09/18/christiana-care-health-system-offer-paid-parental-leave/2363998001/

Delaware jobless rate up a tenth of a percent as signs of a mild slowdown appear

From Delaware Business Now

Delaware’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in August 2019 was 3.4 percent, up from 3.3 percent in July.

The Delaware Department of Labor says the state is seeing a mild slowdown, but nothing akin to the deep recession of 2008 and 2009. A bright spot is teen employment, with a much lower jobless rate for female teen workers.

The state reported 16,600 unemployed Delawareans in August 2019 compared to 17,700 in August 2018.

The US unemployment rate was 3.7 percent in August 2019, unchanged from July. In August 2018 the US unemployment rate was 3.8 percent, while Delaware’s rate was 3.7 percent.

In August 2019, seasonally adjusted nonfarm employment was 466,000, up from 464,500 in July 2019.

Since August 2018, Delaware’s total nonfarm jobs have increased by 5,600, a rise of 1.2 percent. Nationally, jobs during that period increased by 1.4 percent

In its monthly commentary, the Labor Department noted that in August, The number of unemployed residents rose above 16,000 for the first time since March, to 16,600, while the number of residents with jobs fell for the first time this year (last month’s tiny decrease was revised to a tiny increase).

 

Read more:

https://delawarebusinessnow.com/2019/09/delaware-jobless-rate-up-a-tenth-of-a-percent-as-signs-of-a-mild-slowdown-appear/

Ben duPont, Chris Kenny launch ‘non-partisan’ advocacy group

From The Delaware Business Times

Chris Kenny, president and CEO of The Kenny Family ShopRites of Delaware, and Ben duPont, philanthropist and entrepreneur, today announced the formation of A Better Delaware, a “non-partisan grassroots organization” that will advocate for pro-growth, pro-jobs policies and greater transparency in government.

“I speak with employers and workers every day who share my concern about Delaware’s business climate and our competitiveness with other states,” said Kenny, who operates six ShopRite stores in the state.

Zoe Callaway, a recent graduate of the University of Delaware, will serve as executive director. She told Delaware Business Times that the advocacy group will focus on fighting regulations and high-tax policies, including new income tax brackets and the real estate transfer tax.

 

Read more:

https://www.delawarebusinesstimes.com/local-leaders-launch-advocacy-group/

Delaware launches new ‘One Stop’ business registration site

From Delaware State News

DOVER — After about three years of collaborative multi-agency work and an approximately $1 million investment, the state launched Delaware One Stop — a website that pulls all the business registration, licensing and other obligations and resources into one place for companies looking to open their doors in the state.

Dana Rohrbough, the director of Government Information Center, says they’re still making tweaks to the site, which is in a soft-launch phase that started mid-August, as they receive user feedback. Ms. Rohrbough says the site is technically a full revamp and relaunch of an earlier “one-stop” resource from 2005.

Read more:

https://delawarestatenews.net/business/delaware-launches-new-one-stop-business-registration-site/

Robots show up in Delaware’s Walmarts

From Delaware State News

MILFORD — Over the past month, Delaware Walmart shoppers may have caught a rather surprising glimpse of a floor scrubbing machine driving itself up and down the aisles.

In July, the Camden, Milford and Middletown Walmart stores all got autonomous floor cleaners, or “Auto-C,” as they are known.

According to Walmart spokesman Ragan Dickens, these are just the most recent robots the retail giant has introduced in its stores in the state. Walmart began testing several types of robots in their stores across the country in 2018.

Read more:

https://delawarestatenews.net/business/robots-show-up-in-delawares-walmarts/