Category Archives: Spending

The Backstory on the Budget Crisis–Democrat Duplicity. Guest post by Sam Chick

On Wednesday, two days before what is supposed to be the last day of session, Democrats gave Republicans an ultimatum: a. either raise income taxes, alcohol and tobacco taxes, and create a new tax on vaping or b. balance the budget by cutting Grant-in-Aid which supports fire companies, veterans service organizations, senior centers, and other non-profit organizations. Basically Democrats took taxpayers and community organizations hostage, said they're only going to shoot one, but Republicans get to pick who. Wisely, Republicans rejected these strong arm tactics outright. On Thursday Republicans made a counter proposal that gave Democrats their tax increases in exchange for implementing future spending reforms, a budget stabilization fund (a great idea from State Treasurer Ken Simpler that helps the budgeting process by smoothing out the ups & downs in tax revenue), and reforming prevailing Read more

Delaware Legislators Consider Solutions to Sussex Tech Crisis

School Tax Increase Looms on the Horizon By: Wolf von Baumgart, Staff Writer In the face of the Sussex Technical High School District’s growing financial and enrollment complications, state legislators are sponsoring remedial measures. House Bill 100, filed last Thursday, will grant the STHS District the power to impose a 5.5 cent tax increase beginning July 1st for the 2016 fiscal year. In FY 2017, the district will be allowed an additional one cent increase. This will inflate the overall rate to 30 cents per $100 of assessed value, costing the average Sussex County homeowner $8.86 in the first year and $10.47 in the following year. The impending school tax increase is the result of various factors: ● A 19.3% increase in student enrollment from 1295 in FY 2011 to 1545 at present. ● Disparity of the rate of growth of the Sussex County property tax base with 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

The Obama Plan: Burn the House Down

Sometimes you really don't want  what you asked for.  All year people on the Hill asked for Presidential leadership on the deficit.  Now just before the Super Committee meets on one of the most important tasks facing the nation, President Obama spread Kerosene and lit the match.  It seems like the Miranda Lambert approach to negotiation. The Obama plan seems less like a plan than a battle strategy designed to undermine any Democrat support for a real compromise.  It was as if any potential for success that did not bear the White House seal was unacceptable yet any plan with him was impossible as they refused to present any plan before the Congress did.  The government now spends 26% of the GDP (all production of the economy).  5 years ago the government spent 20%.   Reducing Government back to the percentage of national wealth that it was just 3 years ago would control the debt. Sadly Read more

A New Culture in Washington–Finally

After years of talk about a new culture in Washington, it has finally happened.  The third party on Capitol Hill, Washington's gray-haired conservatives used to grumble, was the "Appropriators Party" -- an autonomous, bipartisan bloc of obdurate spenders and shameless porkers who marched in lockstep with their committee leaders and were rewarded with the choicest earmarks. But a rump of conservative Republicans on the House Appropriations Committee has quietly rebelled this year against the committee leaders by repeatedly doing what was once unthinkable for an appropriator: voting on the House floor against the chairman on appropriations amendments, and even appropriations bills. Even more unfathomable, a handful of Republican appropriators have voted against spending bills. "I didn't sign a contract with the Appropriations Committee," rookie appropriator Republican Tom Graves Read more

New Primer on Government Inefficiency – ‘Fed Style’

Remember when $10 million dollars meant something? Nowadays, such denominations are merely rounding errors for many of our Federal Government agencies and their myriad profligate spending programs. In today's Wall Street Journal, reporter Damian Paletta reminds us in his 'Billions in Bloat Uncovered in Beltway' article of how millions quickly add up to billions. Thanks to the stalwart fiscal oversight of Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla), a report was commissioned on the Fed's cornucopia of redundancy, inconsistency and mismanagement -- also known as -- waste, fraud and abuse. According to the non-partisan Government Accountability Office, The U.S. government has 15 different agencies overseeing food-safety laws, more than 20 separate programs to help the homeless and 80 programs for economic development. This GAO report unfurls some interesting tidbits and is merely a microcosm of a Read more

The Contract FROM America

We, the citizens of the United States of America, call upon those seeking to represent us in public office to sign the Contract from America and by doing so commit to support each of its agenda items and advocate on behalf of individual liberty, limited government, and economic freedom.
  1. Protect the Constitution
  2. Reject Cap & Trade
  3. Demand a Balanced Budget
  4. Enact Fundamental Tax Reform
  5. Restore Fiscal Responsibility & Constitutionally Limited Government
  6. End Runaway Government Spending
  7. Defund, Repeal, & Replace Government-run Health Care
  8. Pass an ‘All-of-the-Above” Energy Policy
  9. Stop the Pork
  10. Stop the Tax Hikes

Joke of the Day

Official Statement by U.S. Navy Retirees From: Retired U.S Navy Personnel and Navy Veterans. To: The American Public Subj: Position Statement of the U.S. Economy 1. We in retirement object and take exception to everyone saying that Bernanke, Obama, Reid and Pelosi are spending like drunken sailors. 2. When we were drunken sailors, we quit when we ran out of money. Respectfully, All Current and Former Naval Personnel I don’t normaly post forwarded emails, but I really liked this one.

ASPIRE in Ignorance

How would you like to get $500 just for being born?  That is what ASPIRE or the "America Saving for Personal Investment, Retirement, and Education" act would do if enacted.  It would provide every person born in America with a $500 savings account.  Sounds great right?  How about when you stack that $500 up next to the estimated $38,834.79 average share of the national debt owed by each citizen?    This looks like another attempt by the US government to buy something from its citizens with their own money.  I wonder what it is this time?  One thing is clear, they would rather have us pay attention to the “free” $500 that they want to give every newborn and ignore the $38,834.79 that they are going to take away from that baby at some point.    The estimated $3.25 billion dollar annual price tag for this program certainly isn’t going to help the burden of debt they are placing Read more

CARPER Won’t Read Text of Health Bill

Delaware's very own senior U.S. Senator Tom Carper admits that he has no intention of reading the actual legislative text of the upcoming Health Care Bill. Carper calls legislative language gibberish and states that he can't comprehend this type of language. Carper also "questioned whether anybody could read the actual legislative text and credibly claim to have understood it." Gosh, obviously there is no one in the U.S. who can understand what the bills in Congress mean when they are passed.   After all, if a guy like Carper who has been a politician since the 70's can't understand bills in legislative language, how can little folks like us have a chance??? Sen. John Cornyn points out why the actual bill itself needs to be read and not just some synopsis prepared by Senate staff. According to Cornyn " The descriptive language the committee is working with is not good enough because Read more

Highlights from

• From January 1, 2009 through June 30, 2009, state employees received more than $76.5 million in benefits. • In fiscal year 2008, the State of Delaware spent over $3.1 billion in check payments to Delaware businesses and over $1 billion to out-of-state firms (over a quarter of the check expenditures), equating to over $3 million dollars per day sent out of state. o The other top states to receive checks from the State of Delaware were:  Over $245 million to Pennsylvania firms;  Over $236 million to New Jersey firms;  Over $138 million to Maryland based firms;  Over $54 million to Georgia based firms - that is a bit more than a million tax dollars a week – spent in Georgia • 862 state and school district employees make $100,000 annually or more totaling over $50.9 million in salaries. • In 2008, the State of Delaware spent over $4.3 million on association dues Read more

Delaware Stimulated

DelDOT has revealed what it will be doing with the stimulus funds it is receiving from the Taxpayers, China, or whoever via our federal government.  It amounts to a road improvement project in the Seaford area, and three more in and around Newark.  Work is scheduled to begin July 13th and be wrapped up by mid September.  I am not sure how much stimulus will really come of this.   It will provide some people with about 2 months of work, and leave a few roads in better condition.  For Delaware the impact of  this stimulus seems to be very limited.

If Kowalko and McDowell get their way, we go broke

For those who did not see the Delaware Health Security Act (SB 177 of the last GA) sponsored by Senator McDowell and Rep. Kowalko, I just want to bring its cost to your attention and ask can we afford to keep these guys now that they have an unchallenged majority? I am sure Thurmond Adams would keep something like this in committee (like he did last session), but how much longer can we count on that? It is time to clear the decks of those who would tax us into poverty. Could your small business afford a 9% payroll tax plus nearly doubling some income taxes? Funding for the Delaware Health Security Act will be as follows: All State and federal funds available for health and health care costs in Delaware. Employer and employee graduated payroll tax of from 2% for self-employed individuals to 9% for businesses with 50 or more employees. A Health Security Tax of 2.5% on net taxable Read more


Suddenly it's being peddled by the Governor and the House Majority Leader that voting against the casino gambling bill somehow means a vote against state employees' pay: "This isn't over," Markell said. "The bottom line is, we still need to find the funding to do all the things we need to do." Markell said lawmakers who opposed his proposal were voting against something that could reduce proposed pay cuts. "It's disappointing, but I hope it's a wake-up call to the state's 30,000-plus employees," Markell said. "Those that vote against this bill, or went not voting, sided with the casino owners." When the Governor rolled out his budget proposal last March, it was not an "either/or" proposal. Governor Markell never said that if he got his casino gambling proposals, he would not cut state employees' pay. Tisk. Read more

Markell’s 100 days

Governor Markell has been dealt a poor hand therefore I have made it point to give him a chance before being critical. The state has little money and huge short falls. His aggressive and expensive agenda has mostly taken a back seat to reality.  How has the governor done so far? The Governor is trying to advance certain proposals to build on our already growing green industry and increase credit for small businesses. He recently proposed streamlining some of the permitting process. I applaud those efforts. It is essential that we encourage growth in our economy. The Governor is proposing growing another industry, gaming. Unfortunately, his proposals would actually lose money and hurt jobs. Sports betting makes economic sense. It is being done anyway and would give the state's gaming industry a competitive advantage. Any proposal should exempt any sporting event including Read more


$328,835 is the pricetag for the White House's tragically stupid New York City photo-op according to the Air Force. Check it out: The flight by the VC-25, a modified Boeing Co. 747, and two F-16 fighter jets cost $328,835, Air Force spokeswoman Vicki Stein said. $328,835 for a picture at a time when many Americans are struggling financially, losing their jobs, and being kicked out of their homes. But, as they say in infomercials, that's not all.... It's being reported that the Feds were totally aware that the moronic stunt would send New Yorkers straight for the Prozac, but they demanded that the public be kept in the dark and "threatened" to punish the city if there was a leak: Federal officials knew that sending two fighter jets and Air Force One to buzz ground zero and Lady Liberty might set off nightmarish fears of a 9/11 replay, but they still ordered the photo-op kept secret Read more

Our Blue Hens have come home to …. is the link for a common sense approach for restructuring state government. Senator Colin Bonini points out that if we continued the DuPont Castle budgets the state government would have a 2.1 Billion dollar budget today and not well over 3.2 Billion dollars with a 750 million dollar short fall. We would have a surplus. 16 years of Democrat governors have spent us into difficulty according to Senator Bonini. Here is his idea to get us back on track. I contacted Senator Bonini, this past Friday. He was thrilled with the response that he has received so far. There seems to be an appetite for the ideas of limited, transparent, and more effective government. He plans to take his case to the people to build a public base to save our state from fiscal decline. He warned about this approaching problem as early as the year 2000 and voted against state budget after Read more

Fear Mongering And Loathing…

Fear Mongering And Loathing In Las Vegas Delaware Once upon a time, I worked for a wise candidate who told me that when budget cuts are on the horizon, an administration will threaten teachers' jobs or pay to scare and anger the masses. That way, when a teacher's 8% pay cut ends up being a 4% pay cut, the masses are relieved, the teachers end up being grateful that it was only a 4% pay cut, and the administration looks like the compassionate hero. Governor Jack Markell's new budget proposal with an 8% across the board cut in state employee's pay and a massive expansion of gambling in the state is a far cry from what we heard during the days of Candidate Jack Markell, a sure sign that at the end of this story, there will be a dearth of heroes... Candidate Markell, had a plan. It was over 70 pages long and he called it his "Blueprint for a Better Delaware" Maybe you heard about it Read more

I’ve Got A Proposal For You, Governor

Three new casinos for Delaware? That's our new Governor's vision for our beloved state. Think about it...Delaware is 96 miles long...3 new casinos will give us a casino every 16 miles! Oh yeah, and apparently we might need sports betting (even though professional sports is opposed to it), and table games, too. Well, I have an idea for Governor Markell, put the first new casino in Greenville, where you live. Just take a look at Greenville, there's lots of space for a nice, big, full blown casino with table games and slot machines and sports betting.... View Larger Map Afterall, you did say this: ...we will spread our sacrifices so no one citizen or group bears a disproportionate burden of this challenge." That means you and your neighbors, too, right, Governor? Read more


Kevin Spence at The Cape Gazette is reporting that Susex County is going to get some omnibus spending money for the 3rd try at a new Indian River Inlet Bridge: Indian River Inlet Bridge $1,900,000 to design and construct a new bridge along Route 1 over the Indian River Inlet. The new structure will completely span the inlet with all foundation supports constructed on dry land. The proposed bridge will be west of the existing bridge at a critical evacuation route. Indian River Inlet and Bay $235,000 to determine the cause of and make repairs to severe holes that have developed in the areas of the Indian River Inlet Bridge. Money will also be used to dredge the channel in the Indian River Bay area. Would it be wrong to point out that Delaware wasted ten times that amount of money building and then removing gigantic approaches to a bridge that wasn't even designed yet? Read more

Nominations for most creative use of state tax money in 2008

My Nomination for best use of Delawarean's taxpayer money in 2008 is in.  I don't attack taxpayer funded business trips, here. They are usually useful and legitimate expenses, but once in a while some people try to game the system. According to the Dec. 17 2008 Delaware State News, Governor Minner went to the Virgin Islands for a review of a Governor's conference held in Philadelphia just 25 to 30 miles to our north. The problem is that she didn't even attend the event in Philly.  The oversight was so devistating to good order and her ability to run the state that she did not trust the internet to update her.  She had to go to the Virgin Islands for the make up session.  What a relief!  What would we do without such a self sacrificing public servant. Let's get this straight. She is a month out and decides that a summary of an event not important enough to attend is worth more to Read more

An hundred thousand saved turns into millions earned

state_cost_savings_with_attachment1.pdf In a memo sent to Office of Management and Budget Director Jennifer Davis, the state auditor's office found tens of millions in potential savings and recommended adding sports betting to enhance revenue.  Mr. Wagner's office gave some newer suggestions as well as renewing some familiar calls for savings not adopted from recommendations in times past. Some of the proposals are just a couple hundred thousand in savings and others like having available standard school blueprints would save over 10 million dollars annually.  Some make us wonder why they aren't already implemented such as a statewide administration for the 3 Vo Tech schools.  Allowing email pension statements would save tens of thousands--the estimate is %150,000.  An interesting one is the overtime in the Delaware Psychiatric Center. By hiring more people to fill critical openings, Read more

Kent County missing the mark pt. 1

What is true of  state government is true at the local level. Kent county is facing some tough decisions. We have a new comprehensive plan. We are looking at new library facilities. We want to build new parks. We are grappling with whether to save a new civic center proposal. Crime is showing up in our county not just our towns. I think we also need to look around us and use these opportunities to bring more economic prosperity to our county. We are third out of three in many economic measurements in this state. We need to change that sooner than soon. The problems we face need cooperation with other interested parties to solve them. The go it alone approach by the current majority in council is showing an appalling lack of leadership. Don’t mistake me. These are good people with fine intentions. I am questioning their planning and execution. I have seen time and time again where the Read more