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What’s New

DE’s Legislative Session: Partisan Rule Leaves Delaware Taxpayers Out!

From: Kathleen Rutherford, Executive Director, A Better Delaware

As America enters a recession and inflation reaches a 40-year high, one might think Delaware would take some of its $1 billion budget surplus to ease the burden on taxpayers and small businesses. If you ask a legislator, they might point to the one-time $300 “relief check” they graciously returned to each Delaware taxpayer. But the reality is, every opportunity the General Assembly had to provide meaningful relief that would incentivize growth and create economic opportunity — they met with inaction. That’s in stark contrast to 24 states which, during the same period of time, enacted lasting tax cuts.

According to the Tax Foundation, ten states enacted individual income tax rate reductions, six states enacted corporate income tax rate reductions, and two states permanently exempted groceries from their respective sales tax bases.

Though meaningful tax relief didn’t happen, there were a few good bills that made it across the finish line. Senate Bill 188, for example, increases the $2,000 pension exclusion otherwise available for military pensioners under age 60 to $12,500, providing an incentive for military retirees under age 60 to locate in Delaware. The bill passed in both chambers and awaits the governor’s signature.

Yet, there were numerous bills that would have helped struggling taxpayers that never saw the light of day. Consider House Bill 358, a bipartisan bill introduced by Rep. Bill Bush, D-Dover, that would have cut the realty transfer tax by 25%. Delaware currently has the highest realty transfer tax in the nation. The realty transfer tax is levied on the purchase price of the home and is usually split between the buyer and seller. According to Zillow, the median price of a home sold in Delaware as of June was $356,744. Had it passed, HB 358 would have reduced the transaction cost for the sale of such a home by more than $3,500 and collectively saved homebuyers an estimated $83 million in its first year. According to the National Association of Realtors, realty transfer taxes are regressive because the tax burden is higher for lower-income households. Additionally, increased closing costs on the transfer of existing residential property are likely to reduce the ability of new and current homebuyers to purchase a home, the association notes. “As a result, these taxes have a negative impact on housing purchases and therefore economic development.” Even if the bill passed, Delaware’s transfer tax would still be higher than most: Only Delaware, the District of Columbia, New Hampshire, New York, Washington, and Pennsylvania, have transfer taxes above 1%. Unfortunately, the bill was assigned to the House Revenue & Finance Committee where it never received a hearing.

House Bill 191 would have cut each personal income tax bracket by 10%. The bill was assigned to the House Revenue & Finance Committee in May 2021 and never received a hearing. The bill would have also cut the corporate tax rate from 8.7% to 6.1%. At the same time, West Virginia’s House of Representatives passed a bill to cut each income tax bracket by 10%.

House Bill 445 would have cut Delaware’s gross receipts tax by 50%. Gross receipts taxes are viewed as some of the most economically damaging, as they are assessed at each stage of a supply chain rather than at the final point of sale. This leads to tax pyramiding, which causes prices to rise as the cost of taxes is often shifted to the consumer. Reducing the gross receipts tax would have allowed small businesses to be more competitive and created a tax environment that benefits both businesses and consumers. Some refer to the gross receipts tax as “Delaware’s hidden sales tax” because it is applied to the business rather than the consumer. Inevitably, though, that cost is passed on to the consumer. 45 states have repealed the gross receipts tax.

Charlie Copeland, director of Caesar Rodney Institute’s Center for Analysis of Delaware’s Economy & Government Spending, writes, “In short, during bad economic times, Delaware’s hidden sales tax, [also known as] the gross receipts tax, ensures that Delaware small business owners pay among the highest personal income tax rates in the nation – taking money out of the business at the exact moment the business most needs that money.”

The bill was assigned to the House Revenue & Finance Committee where it never received a hearing.

With the state consistently bringing in hundreds of millions in surplus funds, now is the time to give taxpayers the chance to thrive, not to burden them with additional economic baggage.

Most importantly, voters must look beyond the $300 checks and realize how much of their hard-earned money Delaware’s government is keeping — not giving back — and keep that in mind in the upcoming elections.

275 Young People to be Employed Through Bank of America’s Wilmington Youth Career Development Program

From: WilmToday

Wilmington’s 2022 Youth Career Development Program (YCD) helps young Wilmington residents form professional skills and prepare them for their careers. YCD recently received a $100,000 grant from Bank of America to aid in employing 275 young professionals across a wide range of career paths and internship opportunities this summer.

Bank of America also provides Better Money Habits financial literacy lessons to all YCD participants. The Better Money Habits program is run by Bank of America employees and uses interactive and fun methods to teach financial topics like budgeting, borrowing, investing, and building credit.

Wilmington Mayor Mike Purzycki gave his thoughts, saying “The continued financial commitment over the past seven years and financial literacy programming from Bank of America has been impactful for the program and our teens. We appreciate Bank of America’s generosity and continued support of the future of the City of Wilmington and our residents.”

Recipients of the grant were chosen based on their commitment to addressing basic needs and workforce development. This is a part of Bank of America’s philanthropic efforts in local communities.

Chip Rossi, President of Bank of America Delaware, commented that “The City of Wilmington’s Youth Career Development program is a long-term commitment by investing in our future workforce and working to create opportunities for youth to help them thrive. The city is advancing racial equality and economic opportunity in our community and having a tremendous positive impact on the next generation.”

Read more WilmToday blogs by clicking here.

Deadlines and Licensing Are a Recipe for Disaster

From: Libertas Institute

Most people face arbitrary deadlines in their daily lives. Whether you had a school assignment due on an odd date or had to complete a chore in a certain time frame, these deadlines can become cumbersome.

Unfortunately, arbitrary deadlines implemented via increased government regulation are keeping Utahns out of the labor market. This comes at a time when Utah desperately needs employees to fill essential roles, like those in healthcare left vacant by recent labor shortages. Without these roles being filled, Utah’s labor market will be prohibited from growing at a pace necessary to meet consumer demands.

Often those attempting to become licensed face arbitrary deadlines buried within licensing requirements. These deadlines dictate that a license’s education and experience requirements must be completed either within a certain number of years or no earlier than a certain amount of years.

This time frame unfairly burdens individuals who may have low incomes or large extraneous time commitments. For example, a low-income individual or a mom with multiple kids may need more time to complete the requirements due to not being able to pay for or take time off work for the education requirements within the timeframe.

Under the current system, Utahns could be barred from licensure because they were one minuscule requirement short of meeting licensure requirements in an established given time frame. Would giving this individual another month or week to complete that last hour really harm citizens? Absolutely not.

On the flip side, individuals who do have the means to meet licensure requirements in given time frames are also being punished by this system. If a highly motivated individual wanted to complete a license in an amount of time below the required years to obtain a license they would also be blocked from doing so. The result of this is this individual loses out on the income they could’ve accumulated in their new profession. This can result in monetary burdens that are completely avoidable.

Clearly, unnecessary time restrictions must be done away with. Those hoping to contribute to their communities by entering the workforce must have the flexibility to obtain licenses in a way that does not unfairly burden them. Only when this happens can Utah’s economy and consumers best be served by the workforce.

Delaware’s Mix of Businesses has Changed – Regulations Need to Change

From: Caesar Rodney Institute

In the late 1990s, Delaware’s economy was known for the “four C’s” – Chemicals, Chickens, Cars, and Credit Cards, and big business thrived. By 2000, Delaware had 113 business entities across the state that each employed more than 500 people, mainly in those four industries, but then Delaware changed.

The following decade wreaked havoc on three of the C’s – Chemicals, Cars, and Credit Cards – and the most recent decade has not seen any rebound. By 2020, the number of businesses employing more than 500 people had dropped by 22.1% (by 25 companies) to only 88 companies.

During this same time when “big business” shrank its footprint in Delaware, small businesses struggled to gain a footing. In 2000 there were 13,610 businesses with fewer than five employees in Delaware. Today that number is 15,499.

These very small businesses have grown by 13.8%. Similarly, Delaware businesses with less than 50 employees have grown from 22,536 firms to 26,021 firms, an increase of 15.5%.

Despite the last 20 years of a radically shifting employer mix, the state’s regulatory environment continued to expand dramatically.

Today, according to the Mercatus Center at George Mason UniversityDelaware’s 2019 Administrative Code (DAC) “contains 104,562 restrictions and 6.7 million words. It would take an individual about 374 hours-or more than nine weeks-to read the entire DAC. That’s assuming the reader spends 40 hours per week reading and reads at a rate of 300 words per minute.”

To put this into further context, there are almost seven times more regulations than there are Delaware employers with fewer than five employees. Yet, when one of these micro-businesses needs to upgrade an air conditioner or look for expansion space, the full force of these regulations slows and often stops their investment.

In addition, most of Delaware’s regulations are not simply health and safety regulations – but are under the auspices of Delaware’s Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC). While Delaware has 27,334 Health and Safety regulations, DNREC has 30,523 – 11% more than Health and Safety.

While this mismatch in regulations is already stark, Governor Carney had recently introduced Senate Bill 305 (which did not pass out of Committee) and would have empowered DNREC to grow the regulatory burden on small businesses even more than it already has.

At CRI, we want to be clear; we believe that the creation and oversight of regulations for health and safety – including appropriate environmental regulation – are a central role for government.

But, over time, the government continually adds regulations but rarely removes outdated ones. In Delaware’s case, many existing regulations are aimed at businesses that largely no longer exist in the State (e.g., according to the latest report in 2019 by the Mercatus Center, there are almost 21,000 regulations on chemical manufacturing, an industry almost entirely gone from the state). But the army of bureaucrats devoted to these existing regulations still takes taxpayer money from higher priority areas like education and mental health.

Previous CRI analyses have exposed New Castle County’s economy is smaller today than it was twenty years ago and that Delaware’s aging demographics are making economic growth even more problematic in the state.

Regulatory updating can refocus Delaware’s government on what is important to current and future citizens while freeing small businesses from wasting resources on outdated rules which ensnare them in a bureaucratic morass, slowing or even, in the case of New Castle County, stopping economic growth.

We recommend that Governor John Carney sign an executive order mandating that before a new regulation can be added, two regulations must be removed. Let’s help Delaware’s small businesses help themselves and their employees.

Delaware unemployment rate stagnant in June

From: Delaware Business Times

DOVER – Delaware’s unemployment rate was unmoved for the fourth consecutive month in June, matching the national trend despite adding 2,600 net jobs, according to state officials.

June’s job gains add to more than 3,400 jobs created since February, and Delaware added 400 more jobseekers to continue pushing its record-high labor force over half a million, according to the monthly report released Friday morning.

The labor force captures not only workers and those receiving unemployment benefits, but also those in search of work who aren’t receiving assistance. As workers stop seeking work, for a variety of reasons ranging from retirement to child care needs, they are no longer counted as being unemployed in the state.

Delaware’s June unemployment rate remained at 4.5%, and was still significantly higher than the national average, which also stalled at 3.6% for the fourth straight month.

A year ago, Delaware’s rate was lower than the national average, but the state has since steadily fallen behind in its recovery. It ranked tied for 45th in unemployment rate among states in June, according to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data. It has fallen behind Maryland and New Jersey, which ranked tied for 39th and 35th at 4% and 3.9%, respectively. Pennsylvania was tied with Delaware at 4.5%. Minnesota had the lowest rate of 1.8%, while New Mexico had the highest at 4.9%.

The Delaware Department of Labor’s report is taken monthly during the calendar week that contains the 12th day. The state recorded 22,700 unemployed last month, an increase of 100 people over April.

The official monthly unemployment figure is created by looking at continuous unemployment insurance claims as well as a U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics survey of residents on their employment status. It tracks not only those receiving benefits, but also those who are ineligible, such as terminated employees, those who have resigned and the self-employed, who only became eligible for assistance under a special federal program established under the CARES Act.

The state’s three counties saw differing rates of unemployment in June, with New Castle, Kent and Sussex counties reporting rates of 4.9%, 6% and 4%, respectively – although those statistics aren’t seasonally adjusted. Wilmington and Dover, the state’s two most populous cities, have seen an even greater impact in job losses, where 7.2% and 8% of workers were unemployed, respectively.

The largest monthly job gains came in the leisure and hospitality sector, which added 1,400 jobs last month after adding 1,000 in May, heading into the busy summer season. It was followed by the professional and business services sector, which added 1,100 jobs; education and health care, which added 600; government, which added 400; and the information, manufacturing and transportation, trade and utilities sectors, which added a combined 300.

Leading job losses was unsorted industries, which lost a total of 700 jobs, followed by construction, which lost 300, and financial activities, which lost 200.

 

 

 

 

Government manipulation of energy markets is a cause of, not a solution to, high energy prices

From:The Josiah Bartlett Center for Public Policy 

High energy prices are a major concern of voters, so naturally the political party that controls Congress and the White House has offered a set of serious policy proposals to lower prices as quickly as possible. 

Hey, we can dream, can’t we?

In reality, voters are being sold a container ship full of malarky about energy prices.

On June 15th, President Biden bizarrely blamed both Vladimir Putin and oil refiners for high gas prices and urged refiners to increase production. It was bizarre because the claims had been debunked just days before by the federal government’s own Energy Information Administration. 

The EIA published an analysis on June 10th, five days before Biden’s letter to oil refiners, that dated the surge in oil and gas prices to 2020, not to the war in Ukraine that started four months ago. And the analysis estimated that refinery capacity would hover between 94% and 96% all summer. 

Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., has proposed doubling the taxes of any oil company that manages to enjoy profits of 10% or more. 

That’s slightly lower than the average profit margin of all industrial sectors in the S&P 500, and just 1.7 percentage points higher than the average for the energy sector, Yahoo Finance columnist Rick Newman reported in April. 

The tech, pharmaceutical, real estate and financial sectors all posted average profit margins last year of more than double the level Sen. Wyden has set for triggering oil company punishments. 

In New Hampshire, Democratic politicians are blaming the Legislature and the governor for high energy prices, claiming that Republicans failed to pass a slate of renewable energy bills to reduce the state’s reliance on fossil fuels. 

But they haven’t cited a single bill that would have lowered gas, oil or electricity prices this summer. 

A story about supposed “legislative inaction” on clean energy published in the New Hampshire Bulletin listed eight bills that were supposed to help deliver us from our current reliance on fossil fuels. Five of the featured bills have passed, which is not something customarily associated with “inaction.”

Not one of the five would have had any effect on current energy prices. One actually delays the reduction of Eversource electricity rates for a year and keeps the ratepayer-subsidized Burgess Biomass plant open. The plant buys wood pulp at above-market rates and has already cost Eversource ratepayers an extra $150 million for electricity.

The three other cited bills were to buy electric buses and electric state vehicles, and to accept federal money for electric vehicle infrastructure. They would have had zero effect on prices this summer.

Voters are being asked to believe that our “reliance on fossil fuels” has caused the recent energy price increases, and therefore anything that begins to shift the energy mix away from fossil fuels will help lower prices.

That is nonsense. The price increases have all been caused by a shortage in the supply of fuels relative to demand. 

Simply put, demand for energy surged in 2020 as the economy roared back to life earlier than expected, and supply has remained far short of demand ever since. 

What about renewables? In New England, gas comprises 53% of the energy mix, and nuclear another 27%, according to regional grid operator ISO New England. Renewables are up to 12%.

State subsidies for wind and solar power would have made no noticeable dent in the region’s reliance on fossil fuels for two primary reasons.

  1. Even if we could build renewable generation capacity on a massive scale in just a few years, wind and solar still rely on wind and sunshine. They aren’t yet capable of replacing gas or nuclear as a reliable source of baseload power.
  2. Renewable energy is not inherently cheaper or more reliable than natural gas. It’s become more competitive, and soon it might become a significantly cheaper source of energy. And if that happens, it won’t need subsidies or government “investments,” because the market will respond on its own.

What could have made a difference? Fewer government interventions to direct investments to satisfy the interests of politicians rather than consumers. 

When the government intervened to block pipelines, prohibit fracking, subsidize U.S. shipbuilders, divert resources to more costly “green” energy, and decommission functional, nuclear power plants, consumers suffered. 

“Under wholesale markets, private companies have carried the risks of uneconomic investments, not utilities and their customers, ISO New England concluded. “Consumers have benefited from this least-cost resource mix created through competitive markets.” 

A competitive market focuses on providing energy at the lowest cost. It will do this absent government interventions, just as markets for food, clothing, power tools and doughnuts do.

Government interventions that prevented investors from pursuing lower costs, and instead attempted to steer money to higher-cost alternatives, made energy markets less efficient, raised costs, and crimped supplies.

Repeal of the protectionist Jones Act alone would drop gas prices by 10 cents a gallon, according to a JP Morgan analysis.

To assert that the solution for high energy prices is more government interventions to further hamstring oil and gas companies would be like saying that the solution for the Boston Celtics’ scoring woes is to put more Golden State Warriors on the court. 

The answer is not more government manipulation of the market. The answer is to lift restrictions that interfere with the market’s natural pursuit of a “least-cost resource mix.” 

Revenues rise again as lawmakers prepare to vote on Delaware’s 2023 budget

From: Delaware Public Media

Delaware gets another revenue boost as lawmakers prepare to finalize the state’s 2023 budget.

The Delaware Economic and Financial Advisory Council added another 89 and a half million to the budget bottom line with its June revenue forecast.

Continued strength in personal income tax and corporate tax revenue fueled latest projected upgrades for both the current fiscal year and 2023.

The latest numbers allow lawmakers to spend up to $6.57 billion dollars next fiscal year.

The budget-writing Joint Finance Committee has finished work on the state’s 2023 operating budget, submitting a nearly $5.1 billion spending plan with just over 378 million in one-time supplemental spending.

That’s well above the $4.9 billion budget and $200 million in one-time supplemental spending Gov. John Carney proposed in January.

Lawmakers need to approve the operating budget – along with the state’s capital spending bill and Grant-in-Aid bill before the legislative session ends June 30th.

States Whose Unemployment Rates Are Bouncing Back Most

From: Wallet Hub

May’s jobs report showed a slight slowdown in growth. The economy gained 390,000 nonfarm payroll jobs, a decrease from 436,000 the previous month. In May, there were notable gains in sectors including leisure and hospitality, professional and business services, and transportation and warehousing.

Now, the U.S. unemployment rate sits at 3.6%, which is still slightly higher than it was before the pandemic but is far lower than the nearly historic high of 14.7% in April 2020. This overall drop can be attributed largely to a combination of vaccinations and states removing restrictions. It will take more time for us to reduce the unemployment rate to pre-pandemic levels than it did for the virus to reverse over a decade of job growth, though.

In order to identify the states whose unemployment rates are bouncing back most, WalletHub compared the 50 states and the District of Columbia based on six key metrics that compare unemployment rate statistics from the latest month for which data is available (May 2022) to key dates in 2019, 2020 and 2021.

 

Bill aims to cut real estate transfer tax

From: Delaware Business Times

A new bipartisan bill is seeking to reduce Delaware’s real estate transfer tax by 25%, essentially undoing a state increase from five years ago.

House Bill 358, introduced on March 31 by lead sponsor Rep. Bill Bush (D-Dover), has already garnered 17 House sponsors and 10 Senate sponsors spanning both the Republican and Democratic parties, including both party leaders in the House.

The bill will be first heard in the House Administration Committee, although a hearing has yet to be scheduled.  If enacted, the tax cut would take effect July 1.

HB 358 would reduce the state’s portion of real estate transfer tax back to 1.5% from 2.5%, while local jurisdictions would continue to collect 1.5% of a sale’s value. Seeking to close a budget deficit of hundreds of millions of dollars in 2017, legislators raised Delaware’s realty transfer tax from a longtime 3% on most properties to the current 4% with the state collecting the extra percentage point – in rare instances when no local tax is collected, the state collects 3%.

“Typically, this cost is split between buyer and seller. However, in the current competitive housing market, prospective buyers are often paying the entire tax to convince sellers to accept their offers,” Rep. Kevin Hensley (R- Odessa), who works in the real estate industry, said in a statement.

Rep. Mike Ramone (R-Pike Creek) said that legislators agreed to raise the transfer tax for only two years to cover the budget gap, but that expiration date wasn’t in the final bill, and it continues to be paid on sales small and large.

“Our high realty transfer tax is impacting two groups that can least afford it – millennials and seniors,” Ramone said in a statement. “If we can do something to both facilitate home ownership among young people while giving our older citizens a less costly opportunity to gracefully transition into their golden years, I think we have an obligation to do it.”

A decrease in tax revenue would come at a time when Delaware is seeing booming real estate sales. The state’s independent fiscal analysts board, the Delaware Economic and Financial Advisory Council (DEFAC), estimates that Delaware will pull in nearly $300 million this fiscal year from the real estate transfer tax alone, about 25% more than it did last year. That increase has been spurred along by rising property values across the board, but also by a number of high-value sales, including nearly all of the prior decade’s Top 10 sales, that have contributed millions to state coffers on their own.

Delaware has traditionally ranked at or near the top of all states in terms of its real estate transfer tax, a distinction that has led the state’s Board of Realtors to lobby for a reduction for several years. There are 14 states that have no such tax on property sales, while neighboring states like Pennsylvania and Maryland charge 1% or less on a sale.

According to Long & Foster Real Estate, the median price of a home sold in Delaware as of February was $335,000. HB358 would reduce the transaction cost for the sale of such a home by almost $3,400.

Based on the latest estimates from DEFAC, HB358 would allow homebuyers and sellers to collectively retain more than $100 million annually from the tax cut. DEFAC has projected to end the current fiscal year with a budget surplus of nearly $800 million, which has pushed lawmakers to find ways to return those savings to residents.

One bill that has already received bipartisan support will cut checks of $300 per taxpayer as a direct stimulus. Now HB358 appears poised to make the change that real estate agents have been seeking for years.

“As stewards of the American Dream of homeownership, we are excited about the introduction of HB358. This legislation could make that dream a reality for many families throughout the state. Delaware has the highest state-level Realty Transfer Tax in the nation, and while we pride ourselves on being the First State, this is not a ranking that any of us want,” Susan Giove, president of the Delaware Association of Realtors, said in a statement. “The realty transfer tax can become a major obstacle to homeownership because it must be paid in cash at the settlement table in addition to other closing costs. We believe that this legislation will make housing more affordable for all who wish to buy or sell a home and are grateful to all the sponsors for introducing this legislation at a critical time in the current real estate market.”

General Assembly mulls proposal to create Grant-In-Aid committee

From: Townsquare Live

A bill released from the House Administration Committee Wednesday would create a committee to review grants for nonprofit organizations and make recommendations to the Joint Finance Committee.

Grant-In-Aid is an annual appropriation made by the General Assembly to support the activities of non-profit organizations in the state. The funds are intended to provide supplemental resources to service agencies.

Applications for Grant-In-Aid funding are currently reviewed and approved by the Joint Finance Committee, which is also responsible for drafting the state’s operating budget.

The General Assembly also passes a Bond Bill each year. That bill allocates funds for community groups and local organizations to perform capital improvements. Bond Bill funding applications are reviewed and approved by the Capital Improvement (Bond) Committee.

House Substitute 1 for House Bill 93, sponsored by Rep. Ruth Briggs King, R-Georgetown, would create a new committee that mirrors the work of the Bond Committee except it would be responsible for drafting the Grant-In-Aid bill.

“Each year we invest millions of dollars of taxpayer dollars into not-for-profit applicants,” said Rep. Mike Smith, R-Pike Creek, one of the bill’s co-sponsors. “Each year those requests increase and put more and more strain on the Joint Finance Committee to give appropriate review.”

Smith said the result is allocations have become “more subjective than objective.”

This year, the Joint Finance Committee received 380 applications totaling $34 million in Grant-In-Aid requests. Twenty-nine of those organizations are first-time applicants, which require additional review from the committee.

“I just think we can be better stewards of the tax dollars and the services that our state provides,” Smith said. “I think by creating a Grant-In-Aid committee, we’d provide more transparency to our tax dollars and allow things to be more efficient and effective.”

House Majority Leader Rep. Valerie Longhurst said the bill is “actually a good bill – it’s a good government bill.”

“There are so many applications and people don’t have the opportunity to dive into and really understand them and I think that this is a better way of handing out our dollars in our state government,” she said.

Longhurst recalled the House passing a nearly identical bill years ago which passed unanimously in the House but never received a hearing in the Senate.

“It didn’t go anywhere in the Senate for a lot of different reasons,” said House Speaker Pete Schwartzkopf, D-Rehoboth. “There are some people that don’t want to give up their duties.”

Schwartzkopf said he was on the Joint Finance Committee for four years and the Grant-In-Aid bill was always “an afterthought” once the budget was completed.

If made law, members of the committee would receive additional compensation equal to that which members of the Joint Legislative Oversight and Sunset Committee receive.

State representatives and senators in Delaware receive a base annual salary of $45,291. If passed, members of the proposed Grant-In-Aid Committee would earn an additional $3,852 annually. The chairperson and vice-chairperson would receive an additional $4,578 annually.

The committee would be composed of three senators appointed by the president pro tempore and three members of the House appointed by the speaker. At least one senator and one representative would have to belong to the minority party.