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What’s New

Why pro-business is not anti-worker

Supporting the economy isn’t a partisan issue—so why has it become one?

In Delaware, “pro-business” is frequently tied to “anti-worker,” but the opposite is true.

Who employs these workers that we want to support? Businesses!

By hurting these employers, workers and their families suffer lower incomes, less hours, and even layoffs.

Think of it this way: if the government passed a restrictive regulation on public housing, there would be an uproar about its impact on the recipients of that program and their access to housing. The move would be seen as one that hurts the people, or an “attack” on lower-income families.

The same is true with a restrictive regulation on business. In this instance, the providers are the companies, stores, and small businesses, while the good are the jobs they supply. Legislation that is anti-business is blatantly anti-worker and anti-jobs, and should be seen as a move that hurts the people as well.

It’s odd that a policy position that offers more jobs, better job security, higher pay, and higher government revenues divides Democrats and Republicans from the local level up through the Presidency. These benefits support groups that fall on both sides, including low-income families, middle-class families, communities, minority groups, children, schools, churches, and more.

In a better informed government, lawmakers would work across the aisle to support legislation that actually promotes job growth, supports businesses, and strengthens the economy, in an effort to work for the people, instead of duping them.

If our elected officials could agree on better fiscal policy, both sides would have the capability to help their respective communities, and the public would finally win in this political game, not to mention that more money would naturally go into the budget to support programs for education, health care, infrastructure, housing, and more.

So why is it so divisive? The answer is the same thing that causes most strife in governance: politics.

What is truly best for the people can make for bad headlines in the short-term and impact re-election or donor support.

“New Policy Erases Student Loan Debt for Millions Nationwide” is a far better headline for student loan forgiveness than what the headline for the true, long-term outcome would be: “Erasing Students Loans Cripples Economy as Trillions of Dollars go Unpaid.”

The next time you hear a lawmaker denounce a pro-business policy for being anti-worker or for putting business over the people, consider how a business can support its workers when their operations take a hit, and why both sides can’t align on this issue.

Prosperity Partnership’s project pipeline got a lot busier in 2019

From Delaware Business Times

One of the Delaware Prosperity Partnership’s core functions is to assist companies looking to relocate to Delaware or expand within Delaware, providing a range of support services from identifying potential sites, to providing detailed labor and business cost data, to connecting with key state agencies and local partners, to explaining and coordinating incentive options, and more.

DPP calls these engagements with prospective companies “projects,” and collects and analyzes data to better understand and communicate the types of projects that DPP works on, job creation potential, and more. These projects are all at different stages, from initial conversations to pending final decisions by the company. Projects that ultimately choose to locate or expand in Delaware are referred to as “located projects,” and are moved off this active pipeline, as are projects where DPP has lost contact with the company or the company chose a location outside of Delaware, all of which are referred to as “closed projects.”

DPP’s project pipeline grew considerably in 2019. In January 2019, DPP was working 49 active projects. These projects represented the potential for at least 3,302 new jobs, 922 retained jobs, and $186 million in capital investment. By December 2019, DPP was working 63 active projects, with the potential for at least 5,069 new jobs, 515 retained jobs, and $747 million in capital investment.

https://delawarebusinesstimes.com/news/delaware-prosperity-partnership-busy-2019/

Intern Delaware hopes to stem brain drain in state

From Delaware Business Now

Formed in September 2019 by local business leaders, the organization is focused on connecting interns working in Delaware with the local culture, economy, business leaders, and opportunities.

In the current environment, more than 70 percent of graduates from local colleges and universities are moving outside of Delaware to start their careers, creating a talent drain in the state, the group noted.

Intern Delaware will support companies throughout the state in attracting and retaining intellectual capital by providing their interns with a series of experiential marketing events that highlight Delaware and run parallel with their corporate internship programs.

“In our initial cohort, we are bringing over 350 like-minded individuals together from 21 corporate partners to experience Delaware,” commented Scott Malfitano, co-founder and board chair of Intern Delaware. “These interns will be provided access to signature events, discounts to local merchants, and opportunities to take part in a dynamic summer program designed to open their eyes to all that Delaware has to offer.”

Intern Delaware has initially collaborated with 21 local companies, along with local colleges and universities. Partner companies include Adesis, Agilent, Big Fish Restaurant Group, Buccini-Pollin Group, Capital One, Chemours, Christiana Care, CompassRed, CSC, DowDuPont, EDiS, Epic Research, Goodwill of Delaware and Delaware County, Highmark, Kelly Benefits, M&T Bank, Marlette Funding, The Mill, White Dog Labs, Wohlsen Construction Company, and WSFS Bank.

https://delawarebusinessnow.com/2020/01/intern-delaware-hopes-to-stem-brain-drain-in-state/

Delaware economy projected to shrink within 6 months

From the Philadelphia Fed

Commentary from A Better Delaware

In addition to higher unemployment and poor economic rankings, Delaware’s economy is projected to shrink within the next 6 months.

Delaware is one of only 9 states whose economy is projected to contract in that period.

“The leading index for Delaware was -0.7 in November. The state’s coincident index decreased, and building permits decreased in November. Additionally, the index of delivery times from the Institute for Supply Management’s manufacturingsurvey increased in November, while initial unemployment claims decreased. Overall, Delaware’s leading index forNovember suggests contraction in the state’s economy in the second quarter of 2020.”

Read the full report:

https://www.philadelphiafed.org/-/media/research-and-data/regional-economy/indexes/leading/2019/leadingindexes1119.pdf?la=en&fbclid=IwAR3dusBkbBP8P3m_DCMda_zhm-pjw_i6PC3T8VyVb6Xqq8deXmDb4YwPC1w

Carney proposes largest operating and capital budgets in state history

From Delaware State News

DOVER — Gov. John Carney’s budget proposal includes what would be both the largest operating and largest capital sums in state history. It contains a 2 percent pay raise for state employees and directs much of the state’s expected excess revenue to one-time projects like construction, building maintenance and water treatment.

The governor’s recommended operating budget totals $4.63 billion in recurring expenses and $9.9 million in a separate one-time spending bill, while the capital bond bill comes to $893 million. The general spending plan for the fiscal year started July 1 is $4.45 billion, along with $62 million in a one-time supplement.

The current bond bill, the largest in state history, is $863 million.

Of the $178 million operating increase, about $36.5 million would go to school enrollment growth, while $29.3 million would cover a raise for most of the state’s tens of thousands of employees. Collectively bargained workers like police and correctional officers would not be covered.

Teachers received 2 percent raises in each of the past two years, with most other state employees pocketing an extra $1,000 each year. The proposed 2 percent increase across the board means employees who earn less than $50,000 will see a smaller bump, while those at the upper end of the pay scale will benefit from an amount several times larger than the one handed out last year.

Read more:

https://delawarestatenews.net/government/carney-proposes-largest-operating-and-capital-budgets-in-state-history/

New report shows DE unemployment up .1% for 6th month in a row

Report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics

A Better Delaware Commentary

The Bureau of Labor Statistics released the December 2019 unemployment numbers on Friday, showing Delaware unemployment still on the rise, with a 3.9% unemployment rate.

The rate has climbed by .1% each month since July, and is up from 3.6% this time last year.

The First State ranks dead last in economic output, faces a shrinking economy over the next six months according to the Fed, and ranks among the worst states in the nation for fiscal health.

Small businesses employ over 90% of workers in the state. Strangling these employers with new taxes and regulations will keep employment numbers on a downward trend and hurt our state.

Read the release:

https://www.bls.gov/news.release/pdf/laus.pdf?fbclid=IwAR0luVvEqHQCV-_qkAEp97IiFFqZRFEj9cAEdmrkI4obZckvt0NuE9P4XyA

Delaware lawmakers are setting a new deadline for the legislative year

From The News Journal

Delaware’s top two lawmakers are setting a deadline for when lawmakers can consider bills this year.

The goal is to lower the number of bills that are hastily passed through both chambers in the final days of session and “ensure as smooth an end of legislative session as possible,” according to a Wednesday news release from House Speaker Pete Schwartzkopf, D-Rehoboth Beach, and Senate President Pro Tempore David McBride, D-Hawk’s Nest.

Read more:

https://www.delawareonline.com/story/news/politics/2020/01/22/delaware-lawmakers-set-new-2020-deadline-avoid-end-year-fiasco/4543318002/?fbclid=IwAR3SRHsYOMIFpToYZAdKYJLep-cmVjDvRaCaVTLXt58t2aR3O8P0-NC8tGQ

Full senior tax break may return

From Delaware State News

DOVER — In 2017, facing a budget crunch, legislators cut a school property tax subsidy for seniors by 20 percent, reducing it from $500 to $400. Since then, the state’s financial situation has improved considerably, prompting a number of lawmakers to stump for restoring the credit to its prior amount.

Established in the 1990s as part of an effort to discourage seniors, who are more likely than other residents not to have ties to local school districts, from voting against referendums, the tax break has come under fire and seen changes before 2017.

In 2015, then Gov. Jack Markell proposed halving the subsidy, noting the number of individuals age 65 or older in Delaware was steadily climbing and was not projected to stop. His recommendation faced fierce pushback however, with many arguing slashing the subsidy would be unfair to seniors on fixed incomes.

In 2017, legislators voted to change the residency requirement from three to 10 years. One year later, they approved a bill that would set a means-testing requirement, preventing seniors making more than $50,000 a year from receiving it.

However, Gov. John Carney vetoed the means-testing measure, saying it would create logistical problems and should be done as part of a broader effort.

https://delawarestatenews.net/government/full-senior-tax-break-may-return/

Delaware not among the 36 states with major tax changes in 2020

From Delaware Business Daily

Delaware was not included in a new analysis from the Tax Foundation identifying 36 states that have major changes to their tax codes taking effect this year.

Unlike the states identified in the study, Delaware did not see substantial changes to taxation policies studied by the Tax Foundation. These policies analyzed included states’ individual or corporate income tax rates; sales tax rates; taxation policies on remote sales, marijuana or vapor products; and other reforms.

Many states in recent years have enacted new tax policies in the wake of the federal government’s major overhaul of corporate and individual taxes in 2017 and the U.S. Supreme Court’s South Dakota v. Wayfair ruling, according to the Tax Foundation analysis. The Wayfair decisions reshaped the process of taxing the sale of products on the internet.

The Tax Foundation expects the pace of tax reform activities at the state level to continue into the coming year.

https://debusinessdaily.com/stories/523605795-delaware-not-among-the-36-states-with-major-tax-changes-in-2020

$32 million apartments latest massive development planned along Christina River

From The News Journal

The redevelopment of South Wilmington, long planned to mirror changes that occurred along the Christina River’s northern banks, will be fueled in part by money from newcomers to the city.

Near the southern approaches of the Walnut Street bridge, across from the structurally troubled Christiana Landing townhomes, Washington Place Equities of Baltimore is planning to build the area’s first new apartments in years.

By the middle of 2021, the developer hopes to open the first of its twin 150-unit structures, called Riverhouse I and II, along A Street.

Subsequent construction on the second building will bring 300 new apartments to the geographically isolated area, which in 2010 had a population of just 8,000.

The 5-story buildings should be complete after the opening of a nearby $27 million wetlands park, and a $28 million Christina River bridge that connects to the Wilmington Riverfront.

The projects add to a litany of other changes impacting the working-class Southbridge neighborhood, including the opening of a local bank and the arrival of a union training center.

Read more:

https://www.delawareonline.com/story/money/business/2020/01/16/32-million-apartments-latest-massive-development-planned-south-wilmington/4464865002/