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, delawarepolitics.net 3/18/2016. ]
The Governor raised the possibility that Delaware is in danger of losing DuPont in the wake of the recent merger with DOW and called for reduction of state corporate income tax structural disincentives. He further stated that 130 state regulations that were determined to be detrimental to business development were modified or eliminated.
He stressed the need for greater workforce development in the technical, manufacturing and service sectors and called for greater investment in joint skills training programs that enabled high school vocational students to simultaneously work towards job training certification through a 600-credit hour job certification program at Delaware Technical and Community College. “We should concentrate on catching up with Switzerland in apprenticeship programs”, he said.Governor Markell also called for greater focus on Delaware’s participation in the global economy and stated that 80% of new wealth will be created abroad over the next decade. He emphasized the need for greater Delaware agricultural exports to emerging markets and greater foreign investment in the First State.
Selected questions (printed in advance) were submitted to the state legislators.
The Kent County legislative delegation was composed of State Senators Colin Bonini, Brian Bushweller and David Lawson with State Representatives William Carson, Trey Paradee, Jeff Spiegelman and Lyndon Yearick. They were generally opposed to proposed increases in the state gasoline tax and the Governor’s proposal for a state property tax aimed at pollution reduction of state waterways. They also opposed a state raise in the minimum wage as detrimental to Delaware’s economic development and supported establishment of “Right-to-Work Zones” in Kent County.
Republican gubernatorial candidate, State Senator Colin Bonini said “Delaware is fixable. In order to get it going, we need to make some tough political decisions”. On the subject of state tax increases, he added “Don’t trust us”.
The event was sponsored by C.S. Kidner and Associates, the Delaware State News, Delaware State University, Dover Downs Hotel and Casino, Fifer Orchards, Inc., Mountaire Farms of Delaware, Inc., Pepsi Bottling Venture of Delmarva and PPG Industries, Inc.
Participating vendors were : BIG Investment Services, CNB Bank, Delaware Crime Stoppers, Delaware State Housing Authority, Delaware State News, Del-One Credit Union, Dover YMCA, Fifer Orchards, Friends of Delaware Veterans, Inc., Harvest Ridge Winery, Holiday Inn, Kent County Tourism, Kent County Women’s Journal, Landmark Science and Engineering, Midlantic Dispatch, LLC, Ronald Mc Donald House, SCORE Delaware and Telemon Corporation.
Platinum Sponsors were: Chesapeake Utilities, Dover Federal Credit Union, George and Lynch, R&R Commercial Reality, L&W insurance, i.g Burton and Kraft Heinz. The Signature Sponsor was BIG investment Services.
Further Information is available at: http://cdcc.net