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In The News

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

Republican bills would cut taxes in wake of state’s revenue windfall

From: Delaware Live

Delaware House Republicans have filed five bills that will cut taxes, saying the state should share its unexpected financial fortune with residents and businesses.

Among other things, the bills would  cut the state personal income tax by 10%, cut corporate income tax by nearly 30%; and slash the gross receipts tax – which companies pay on sales – by 50%.

That would allow impacted taxpayers to collectively retain more than $420 million annually, the Republicans said in a press release Tuesday.

“This is an economic development bill,” said Rep. Rich Collins, R-Millsboro, is sponsoring House Bill 91, which would do those things. “In recent years, Delaware has had one of the worst economic growth rates in the nation. I believe allowing people and businesses to keep more of their own money will jumpstart investment, increase employment, and raise starting wages. The state will reap the benefits of this too, as better economic performance produces higher revenue.”

Efforts were not successful Tuesday to reach Democratic leadership for comment on the bills.

The Republicans said in their press release that the State of Delaware is flush with cash and they want to share it with taxpayers. Read more:https://push.delawarelive.com/republicans/ 

Gov. Hogan says Maryland will end extra $300 weekly payments, other federal unemployment programs

From The Baltimore Sun 

Maryland will stop paying jobless residents an extra $300 a week soon and will end other federal pandemic unemployment programs, Gov. Larry Hogan announced Tuesday.

The changes will take effect in early July. In addition to cutting off the weekly $300 boost, Maryland will discontinue three other programs — including aid for the self-employed and gig workers — and will require claimants to show that they are looking for a new job.

The federal programs were extended until September under the American Rescue Plan Act, passed by Congress in March, but a number of Republican governors have announced that they will opt out of them early. Maryland is the 24th state to do so.

Business groups, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, have called for states to end the enhanced benefits. Read more:https://www.baltimoresun.com/politics/bs-md-extra-unemployment-ending-20210601-j5eq6dxz5jcbrjr5z3o52ctfri-story.html 

State lawmakers announce new ‘Life Science Caucus’

From: Delaware Public Media A bipartisan group of Delaware lawmakers is creating a new caucus devoted to the First State’s growing science sector.

State officials announced the creation of the Life Science Caucus Monday to address issues in industries like biopharmaceuticals and gene-editing in Delaware’s General Assembly.

The caucus will work with the Delaware Prosperity Partnership and the state’s private sector with the goal of offering incentives and facilitating tech-based economic development.

State Rep. Mike Ramone (R-21) says he thinks it’s a good strategy, given Delaware’s small size, that it should try to cater to a particular niche business sector for growth and expansion.

“I think that this bio-sector niche and what we can do in Delaware—developing partnerships with the universities and the business sector—we could be a sweet spot for this,” said Ramone.

Delaware’s life and bioscience industries already generate billions each year in economic output. They employ more than 8,000 people. The industry’s average salary is more than $100,000. Read more: https://www.delawarepublic.org/post/state-lawmakers-announce-new-life-science-caucus

Publisher’s View: Delaware’s leaders need to rethink federal benefits

From Delaware Business Times: The news that Gov. Carney and the state Department of Labor is reinstating the requirement that Delawareans on unemployment demonstrate that they’re looking for work is a good step to trying to get people back to work.

Rob Martinelli
President
Today Media Inc.

Delaware has 31,000 people receiving up to $400 per week from the state.  Many of us are intrigued by decisions being made in almost half of the other states to opt out of the $300 in additional weekly federal benefits. Missouri Governor Mike Parson told CNBC, “While these benefits provided supplementary financial assistance during the height of COVID-19, they were intended to be temporary, and their continuation has instead worsened the workforce issues we are facing.” Read more: https://delawarebusinesstimes.com/news/delaware-needs-to-rethink-federal-benefits/