Category Archives: economy

Economic Inclusion is the Key to Prosperity

The City of Dover decided to take a wrecking ball to its economic development department in spite of 5 years of work that has brought hundreds of millions in new private investment, filled empty box stores, changed the Garrison Track into the Garrison Technology Park. We finally began to address workforce development, gained needed investment to implement a downtown strategy through Restoring Central Dover and the Downtown Development District and began business training reaching all segments of the community through the Ice House project. We now have a committee charting strategy. While it was a mistake that got us here, it is an opportunity to get us to a consensus that could prove very beneficial to our city. The Mayor is the chair of the Economic Development Committee (thanks to my motion) and has already made some positive moves including the addition of our best expert with Read more

Self Inflicted Wounds: City of Dover Moves to Destroy Successful Economic Development Operation

All was going great at the budget hearings until a series of motions by Tim Slavin. If we can't stop this train before the budget passes, it will abolish the economic development department which will risk jobs, business training and money invested here. Business people are using terms like crazy to describe this move. Downtown Merchants used the word trepidation. I say that it is temporary insanity. We have been the most successful that we have been in decades downtown, at the Garrison Technical Park and beating national trends. Now that things are working, let's change. Let's not change with forethought and structure, let's change and form a committee to figure out how to put together the pieces we are about to break. Call now or put our economy at risk. People are complaining but not all to the right people. The other councilmen have avoided recent business gatherings. Read more

Governor and KC State Legislators Address CDCC

By: Wolf von Baumgart, Staff Writer Delaware Governor, Jack Markell and members of the Kent County state legislative delegation highlighted the annual Central Delaware Chamber of Commerce Legislative Luncheon, held at Dover Downs on Friday. Governor Markell said that when he took office in 2009, Delaware (with a $ 3- Billion annual budget) was rated in the worst ten states for unemployment. In 2014 it was rated in the ten best and in 2015 the First State was rated fourth best with a 4.7% unemployment rate. He said that Delaware is moving towards a more nurturing business environment with the recent passage of the Innovation Tax Credit Act and that it is a major state economic priority to keep agricultural business in Delaware. [ See: "DuPont Tax Incentives Passed" by David Anderson, 3/18/2016. ] The Governor raised the possibility that Delaware is in Read more

DuPont Tax incentives passed

Today at the Central Delaware Chamber of Commerce Legislative Luncheon, Governor Markell gave his final report as Governor to the group. He touted several successes, some of which were rebutted by Senator Bonini such as wage growth after 5 years of decline. The growth percentage looks faster because the income base shrank for 5 years, Bonini said. One success was saving jobs after the merger with a new research tax incentive bill. The bill passed yesterday. Associate Press Reporter Randal Chase summarized the story this way. The bill eliminates a $5 million aggregate cap on research and development tax credits and makes the credits refundable. It also restores a never-used new jobs tax credit and expands it to include jobs retained after a corporate restructuring. Dow and DuPont already have said that the headquarters of stand-alone agricultural and specialty products businesses Read more

Delaware Governor Comments on DuPont / Dow Merger

The Press Offce of Delaware Governor, Jack Markell has released the following statement regarding the announcement of a merger between DuPont and Dow:   “Delaware has been home to DuPont's global headquarters for more than 200 years and to an important Dow Electronics Materials business for decades. These are world class companies whose merger has the potential to spawn three well-positioned competitors in the agriculture, material sciences and specialty products sectors. “I have spoken to DuPont CEO Ed Breen about plans for DowDuPont. We have talked about the great business environment in Delaware and the many talented scientists, engineers and business leaders who call Delaware home and who can be at the center of growth for the three new businesses. We will continue to advocate that Delaware's many advantages can be of major benefit to the new companies.   “None of this, Read more

Hydrokinetics for the First State

COMMENTARY By: Wolf von Baumgart, Staff Writer In response to the Governor’s 10/2/15 weekly message on “Combating Climate Change While Growing our Economy”, there is another practical, economical and environmentally compatible energy source currently available, i.e.: HYDROKINTETICS. In-line hydrokinetics differs from traditional hydroelectric generation as it does not require dams or natural waterfalls – only water flow at 4.2 Knots or greater and has in contrast, an extremely low environmental impact throughout its life cycle. Furthermore, it can produce electricity with zero GHG emission cheaper than a conventional coal-fired power plant. [Photo: UEK Corporation] The idea was first publically introduced in Delaware during a public meeting regarding a proposed Indian River Inlet power generation project in Ocean View in 1993. The Indian River Inlet is the second fastest Read more

DE Governor’s Weekly Message 10/9/2015

Unleashing the Untapped Potential of Our Downtowns By: Delawre Governor Jack A. Markell Healthy and vibrant downtowns are critical components of Delaware’s economic well-being and quality of life. With urban areas across the country growing rapidly, we must ensure our cities are attractive places to live, work, and visit – to raise a family and to start and expand a business. It’s why we started the Downtown Development District program, designed to spur private investments that renovate old properties, build new ones, and revitalize neighborhoods. Funding approved by the General Assembly has allowed us to provide $5.6 million in grants for projects in our first downtown districts in Wilmington, Dover, and Seaford. Those grants have leveraged an additional $114 million in private investment to refurbish buildings that house small businesses, create green space and build new housing. Read more

DE Governor’s Trade Mission to Promote Delaware to German Companies Begins Tuesday

REPRINT From the Governor's Press Office: The Governor will meet with business and government leaders in Munich and Berlin to strengthen economic ties Wilmington, DE – Having made it a top priority to ensure Delaware fully benefits from the global economy, Governor Markell will be in Germany beginning next Tuesday to strengthen relationships with German companies and business organizations. The visit follows this year’s launch of the Department of State’s ‘Global Delaware’ initiative ( and focuses on the three goals of the program: paving the way for Delaware companies to increase exports, building on Delaware’s global leadership in corporate governance and as a preferred site of incorporation, and promoting the state as a place for foreign companies to expand. “Success for our state in the 21st century means looking beyond our borders for Read more

Governor Markell Signs Locomotive Idling Regulation Bill

By: Wolf von Baumgart, Staff Writer

Delaware Governor, Jack Markell, has signed SB-135, a bill aimed at restricting nonessential locomotive idling into law, earlier this afternoon.

The Governor’s Press Secretary, Kelly M. Bachman, confirmred that the bill was enacted, but was not at liberty to comment further in light of Norfolk Southern’s federal challenge to the jursitiction, intent, scope and effect of the legislation.

Norfolk and Southern, a major interstate Class I railroad serving large portions of the South, Northeast and Midwest regions of the U.S., filed an acclelerated motion for declaratory judgement with the US Surface Transportation Board on August 4, 2015 contending that state and local regulations of raiload operations are explicitly precluded by the Interstate Commerce Commission Termination Act of 1995 (ICCTA).

Norfolk Southern Opposes SB-135

By: Wolf von Baumgart, Staff Writer In light of increased rail shipments of Canadian crude oil to the Delaware City refinery, the Delaware General Assembly has passed SB 135, designed to limit “non-essential” locomotive idling between the hours of 8pm and 7am. Fines would range from $5,000 to $10,000 for a first offense, with $10,000 to $20,000 fines for repeat violations. It is not clear to what degree that the statute would actually be enforced if Governor Jack Markell signs it into law. The controversy pits the quality-of-life interests of nearby residents against the interests of Delaware’s railroads and petroleum industry in the greater context of economic and environmental concerns. Additionally, a complex legal technicality has emerged : EPA/federal preemption of state regulation of locomotive environmental impact, largely due to the interstate nature of railroads and Read more

Another Reason to Oppose Fast Track

TPA Fast Track Authority could be Trojan Horse for Open Borders Dick Morris exposes how Congress would be foolish to give up its authority to make amendments and give up its proper role of supervision of trade. Now buried in the Trans Pacific Partnership is climate change and open borders. It may be a stealth EU. Some Republicans have been quick and even shrill to denounce as amnesty anything that addresses the problem of the 11 million immigrants here without proper papers. Here is something worse than amnesty. It is open borders. They had better wake up on this one. Republican leaders are blindly and inexplicably pushing Fast Track in spite of the fact the last 8 years have demonstrated that many responsible trade pacts can be passed without it. In fact, you have a broader and more responsible consensus when the President knows that Congress has there as an equal partner. Reagan Read more

Delaware’s Shrinking Middle Class

by: Wolf von Baumgart, Staff Writer Believe it or NOT, according to a recent Pew Charitable Trusts report, the percentage of upper-income households increased in every state from 2000 through 2013. While this may sound good on the surface, the dataset, when adjusted for inflation, does not bode well for Delaware's middle class. The study notes that the minimum income threshold of the upper-income bracket dropped in Delaware by 11.4 percent over the period to $115,693 in 2013, resulting in a net decrease in purchasing power when calculated relative to median income. The overall national trend is that median income has not kept pace with inflation in 44 out of 50 states. That means that 88 percent US households can buy less goods and services at present and invest less for the future. [ This indication, in turn, raises questions of possible economic drag effects over time. ] The Read more

A Rising Tide Lifts All Boats?

When President Kennedy said a rising tide lifts all boats, he was referring to the fact that developing natural resources in an environmentally sound way and restoring our manufacturing productivity was beneficial to all. Pursuing policies of full employment would lead to more wealth for all. Today, his quote is used to back the idea that if we pursue policies aimed at Wall Street, Main Street will benefit. Surely, policies aimed at undermining Wall Street will undermine Main Street. You cannot long enrich the poor by attempting to impoverish the rich. We need investment and opportunities for all us to benefit from capital formation. Still, the idea that you can transfer wealth from the worker to the investor and benefit the worker is equally fool-hearty. This idea has resulted in stagnant wages, a declining manufacturing base, and declining median household income. Economic growth Read more

Dover Marching Ahead With Jobs

The Dover Post had an article that showed how many major vacancies are being filled in Dover. Not only is Downtown in the midst of major revitalization (We gave final passage to new incentives Monday, but how successful our efforts are to reclaim "empty big boxes". The article highlighted some of the challenges, but save one, everyone covered was either opening, filed a site plan, or was under contract. It sited the incentives that we passed when I came on board Council. I expect to see the same with downtown because we have a comprehensive approach of security, economic business incentives, controlling taxes and fees, residential aid, and youth outreach. We built our plan from the wishes of the people. It took more than a year to survey, hold meetings, have focus groups, and seek community leader involvement, but the results have been solid. The people know what is needed better Read more

Anderson Launches Jobs Offensive

The Dover Prospers Initiative from the Desk of Councilman David L. Anderson, Dover, DE I am pleased to announce that I am taking part in major initiatives to make Dover even more jobs friendly. Here is a quick summary of the initiatives, one stop shopping, a citizen sunset committee, new economic incentives for the Downtown to put into law the work done by our staff. I have long advocated One Stop Shopping to make it easy for to open a business in Dover. Every form that you need is in one packet and you can turn it in one place and we route it to the right department instead of you running around all day. Microbusinesses are the largest economic boom that we have. It is where the growth is most dependable and profitable. Sure we love adding hundreds of jobs at Energizer, which we are. We love Kraft adding jobs. We love having hundreds of millions in Calpine Construction or Uzin Utz and Read more

Will Dover Lead The Way In Protecting Taxpayers?

As usual, I am fighting the good fight for taxpayers. My friend, Councilman Tim Slavin developed a proposal that just makes sense. It requires a tax hike greater than 9.5% to go before the people in a plebiscite-- a non-binding referendum before it can pass. This is not a radical proposal. It does not prohibit or even hinder a moderate tax hike that may or may not be necessary. What it does is put the brakes on wholesale looting of the taxpayers, destruction of confidence in the job creating business community, and a crushing surprise on families that are already on the edge. Passing this sends a message to those who want to invest in Dover that we will manage our finances well and give you economic certainty. Dover is poised to have nearly a billion dollars of private investment flow into the city in the next decade. Will the city risk it by not giving a measure of certainty? If we Read more

Where is the recovery?

Delaware's unemployment rate has been going up even as the national numbers have been falling the last few months. The latest U. S. jobs numbers are encouraging, but it is still noteworthy that we still have not recovered the income or jobs that we lost in spite of massive stimulus from both the fiscal and monetary side. The U-6 which measures the real employment situation of full time workers shows 11.8% unemployment rate. A large number of workers are working part time or temporarily when they want full time work. Women have been negatively impacted. The labor participation rate of white women is still dropping and is at its lowest point in years. The unemployment rate for black women has been at 11% until this last month when it dropped to 9.6%, but unemployment for black men went up over 11% leaving the black unemployment rate close to 11%. Nearly 19% of white youth are unemployed Read more

Massive Government Shutdown Losses Never Materialized

Maybe the government needs to shut down once a year. The stock market is up 8 weeks in a row. 204,000 jobs were added. The feared economic losses never materialized. No, I did not and do not support the shutdown strategy. I just never believed it was the crisis the media made it to be. Now we are proven right and the chicken little wanna be forecasters were wrong. We have had what--17 of them in the last 40 years including a number when Carter and his fellow Democrats went toe to toe? Why is this true? Sorry "progressives", the government is not the economy. Money will just be spent elsewhere and not lost from the economy. The Forbes article linked here explains the economics of the situation well. The debt ceiling was much more important and that was never really in doubt. Don't fall for the political rhetoric about a side show; keep your eye on the ball. The real problems are Read more

Question of the Week–Why is Delaware’s Economy Stalled?

The unemployment rate in Delaware has remained frozen at a level higher than when our ruling Democratic party took sole control of the state government. Even more disturbing, Delaware is losing ground against the nation (now predominately led by Republican Governors). Delaware no longer enjoys a rate lower than the nation. Of course the official rates are an understatement; the real national unemployment rate is 8.8% (U-5) and the underemployment rate or U-6 which is the broadest measure of unemployment is 14%. Delaware does not fare well by that measure either at 14.1%. In fact Delaware and Connecticut are the only two states that did not see an improvement in any of the 6 measures of unemployment year over year from July 1, 2012 to June 30, 2013. The average weekly wage downstate is only 75% of the national average. It is not that we do not have bright and energetic leadership Read more

Do We Spend Money On the Right Things?

In Delaware, we give away tens of millions to companies like Fisker Automotive and Bloom Energy. Bloom Energy has increased its hidden surcharge to Delaware's electric customers from 67 cents a month in January to 3 dollars and 83 cents next month. This could amount to a total subsidy in the hundreds of millions over the next 10 years. Bloom promises to create 900 jobs. As a downpayment, Bloom is advertising 10 jobs currently. What if that money were invested in a Delaware infrastructure bank? Imagine a fund to help rebuild our old water infrastructure and make our power more reliable. Imagine a fund that would build physical infrastructure like our local airports in each county. Kent could become a cargo hub for less than a million dollars according to my sources. Several industries have passed on us because our water infrastructure is insufficient. We waste a great deal of Read more

Guest Opinion on Immigration Reform

Amnesty Driven by Voodoo Economics By Jonathon Moseley Voices calling for amnesty do not really understand economics or free enterprise. They offer garbled misconceptions -- with graphs. But they would be kicked out of the economics courses I took in business school. The pro-amnesty camp argues from "voodoo economics." Amnesty will grow the economy, they argue. Well, if there are more people, technically the economy will be bigger. But each person may be poorer. A growing economy is only 'better' if the economy grows faster than the population increases. Otherwise, each individual is worse off among a larger crowd. Gross Domestic Product (GDP) measures total activity -- not household income for each individual family. Amnesty will create a worse economy for everyone, even if total GDP is larger. (Actually, amnesty just transfers workers from Mexico to the U.S.A., so there Read more

Are Americans Being Played?

The economy is quite good, profits for big companies are up, stocks are around all time highs, big banks are running strong, and big government tax revenues are up. Should I say the economy is good for the big crowd, big business, big banks, big insurance, big energy, and big government. Yet growth is terrible, 1.2% (oh wait they changed how they calculate growth 1.7%), unemployment is still around 7.4% even with the nifty new way they count it. The U-6 is about double that. Working people are going backwards in income. Minority unemployment is absurd, but white poverty rates are rapidly heading to that of minorities--misery doesn't enjoy company. Why are there two economies? One for them and one for us? Why is the American system being gamed by those who are able to have the best lobbyists that money can buy? The tax system, procurement policies, regulations, and even laws Read more

Delaware’s Economic challenge pt.1

The new unemployment numbers have been published. Delaware is stagnant with 7.1% unemployment. State of Delaware’s officials take comfort from the fact that we are lower than the national average of 7.3%. The problem is that while the national rate is ever so slowly declining, ours is not moving. I have some areas which I believe are holding us back inspite of some positive initiatives from state officials. First, I would like to hear from you. Let’s have an open forum on the economy. (Actually my article disappeared and I don’t have time to retype it). I think there are 7 areas that we are lagging in. Infrastructure, utility rates, less competitive corporate rates, ineffective education strategy, inefficient land use, we are too tied to best practices and not next practices, and we need to better leverage our higher education institutions. Your thoughts?

Obama Team Struggles With Accuracy To Explain Cuts

President Obama and top administration officials are struggling with accuracy in explaining the impact of billions in federal budget cuts known as sequester that kicked in Saturday morning -- even getting called out by a Capitol Hill superintendent about furloughs for support staffers. Carlos Elias, the Capitol Building superintendent, sent out a memo Friday reminding staffers that the current sequestration plan does not include “reductions in force or furloughs” and that “pay and benefit of each of our employees will not be impacted.” Though not directly mentioning Obama by name, Elias also said in the memo that a “high-ranking official said employees that clean and maintain the U.S. Capitol will receive a cut in pay.” Hours before the memo was released, the president, in what appears to be the administration’s attempt to maximize the potential impact of the cuts, Read more

Obama, Spending Cuts Will Begin Friday

Congress effectively missed the deadline to avert the automatic spending cuts, originally passed into law in the summer of 2011. President Obama will officially enact the cuts by the end of the day Friday – but there will be cuts. As the White House has come to acknowledge, the impact of the cuts will – for the most part -- not be felt immediately. The billions of dollars in budget cuts are most likely going to phase in over the next few months. Furloughs of government workers will begin several weeks from now. Administration officials say the impact of this and other cuts will build up over time; President Obama describes the effect on the economy as a “tumble downward.” But some fiscal hawks see a silver lining, in that the sequester will force the government to trim the waste in order to shield higher-priority items. Already, the White House budget office is recommending Read more