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

Delaware’s 2019 legislative session is over. Here’s where some of the top bills stand.

From The News Journal

Delaware lawmakers finished out the legislative year shortly after 1 a.m. on Monday.

They passed several new laws near the final stretch, including changes to medical marijuana policy and criminal justice reform.

But plenty of big-ticket items, such as full recreational use of marijuana and gun control, are left on the table for at least another year.

Read more:

https://www.delawareonline.com/story/news/politics/2019/06/27/heres-how-close-delaware-bills-becoming-law/1561656001/

Bill aims to hike minimum wage for waitstaff who are now paid $2.23 an hour plus tips

From Delaware Business Now

Waitstaff and workers who rely on tips and gratuities could see their first hourly wage increase in more than 35 years under legislation unveiled Thursday.

Sponsored by Rep. Kim Williams, House Bill 252 would replace the current floor for tipped employees from $2.23 per hour with a requirement they not be paid less than 65 percent of Delaware’s minimum wage. Under the current $8.75 per hour wage, that would be $5.69. When the minimum wage increases to $9.25 per hour on October 1, the tipped wage minimum wage would increase to $6.01 per hour.

Delaware has among the lowest minimum wages for tipped workers. Many states have higher wages, with a few requiring the employer to pay the state’s minimum wage.

Read more:

https://delawarebusinessnow.com/2019/06/bill-aims-to-hike-minimum-wage-for-waitstaff-who-are-now-paid-2-23-an-hour-plus-tips/

Delaware nonprofits struggle with diversity, tax changes and funding shortfalls

From Delaware Business Times

Delaware nonprofits are focusing on ways to innovate through diversity and innovation, even as they struggle to maintain funding for key programs and create new ones.

The Delaware nonprofit sector employs 45,307 people and generates $2.9 billion in wages, generating $5.4 billion in spending, says Sheila Bravo, president of the Delaware Alliance for Nonprofit Advancement (DANA), citing data from the 2017 Bureau of Labor Statistics and other federal sites.

Read more:

https://www.delawarebusinesstimes.com/delaware-nonprofits-still-struggling/

Proposed $15 minimum wage in Delaware clears 1st hurdle

From Associated Press

DOVER, Del. (AP) — A proposal to increase Delaware’s minimum wage to $15 an hour cleared its first legislative hurdle Wednesday despite vocal opposition from the business, hospitality and agriculture communities.

The Democrat-led Senate Labor Committee released the bill for consideration by the full Senate after a lengthy public hearing during which most speakers criticized the proposal.

The bill increases the minimum wage to $11 on Jan. 1, 2020, followed by a $1 raise at the start of each year until it hits $15 in 2024. Future increases to the minimum wage would then be automatically tied to increases in the consumer price index.

Read more:

https://www.apnews.com/29d2a30ccb2348dcb1c02c0919a9686c

Proposed Dover budget includes 8.6% property tax hike

From Delaware State News

DOVER — Donna Mitchell, who manages the city of Dover, said a property tax increase in the city’s Fiscal Year 2020 budget is necessary to catch up on “much-needed” maintenance work in city parks and aging facilities, as well as filling some staffing positions that have been left vacant for several years.

Mrs. Mitchell broke down her proposed FY20 draft budget for members of Dover City Council in Council Chambers at City Hall on Wednesday night, proposing an 8.6 percent property tax increase as part of a $43.6 million general fund budget for the coming fiscal year, which begins in July.

It will mark the first property tax increase for the city since a 19.9 percent property tax increase was handed down to the city’s residents in 2016.

Read more:

https://delawarestatenews.net/news/proposed-dover-budget-includes-8-6-property-tax-hike/

Tax breaks to lift impoverished Wilmington areas are being used to build luxury apartments

From Delaware Online

A new federal program promising lucrative tax breaks to help poor, disinvested neighborhoods is being used by developers to build luxury apartments and hotels in Wilmington’s business districts.

Census tracts designated by Gov. John Carney for the program include the southern portion of the city’s East Side and stretches of its Northeast, which have long struggled with crime, poverty and a crumbling housing stock.

They also include the booming Riverfront and resurgent downtown, which are already seeing a swell of development.

For now, it’s the latter areas that are attracting interest in the program.

Read more:

https://www.delawareonline.com/story/news/2019/05/20/tax-breaks-really-revitalize-poor-wilmington-neighborhoods/3654822002/

Democratic lawmakers push bill to create 2 new top income tax brackets

From Delaware State News

DOVER — A House panel released to the full chamber Wednesday legislation that would create two new top tax brackets.

Currently, all income above $60,000 is taxed at 6.6 percent. House Bill 15 would tax personal income of between $125,000 and $250,001 at 7.1 percent and above $250,000 at 7.85 percent.

As of 2018, 16 states had a top tax bracket that exceeded $60,000, according to the Tax Foundation.

The bill is the latest effort by Rep. John Kowalko, D-Newark, and other Democrats to force higher earners to pay more to state government.

Read more:

https://delawarestatenews.net/news/democratic-lawmakers-push-bill-to-create-2-new-top-income-tax-brackets/