The General Assembly returns today and they have a lot on their plate. Here is the state of play on the budget negotiations:
Democrats and Republicans have agreed to raise the corporate franchise tax in exchange for repealing the estate tax, and that will bring in about $119 million. Gov. John Carney and fellow Democratic leaders want to raise further taxes — like the income tax and the tobacco tax — so that the state has a roughly equal balance of cuts and new revenue.
But Democratic leaders don’t have the three-fifths vote they need to pass those increases, and Republicans have not agreed to further tax hikes. Leaders in both parties are meeting Tuesday in hopes of finding a compromise.
The Joint Finance Committee has only settled on about $80 million in budget cuts, voting to trim by $100 a property tax break for senior citizens, reducing funding for some public health programs by 20 percent and eliminating the State Board of Education, among many other reductions.
Even if Republicans agree to a “balanced approach,” JFC will still need to cut about $120 million more. And the committee hasn’t addressed some more controversial parts of Carney’s plan, including raising state employee health care costs and slashing discretionary funds for school districts
The number one priority for all Democrats in this General Assembly session is voting on a bill that includes two new income tax brackets above the current top income bracket of $60,000. The details are negotiable, but the absolute necessity of this because set in granite the second that Democrats agreed to a compromise that eliminated the Estate Tax and thus giving a gift to the extreme wealthy in Delaware. If you are demanding shared sacrifice from the working and middle classes in the form of budget cuts and raised taxes, then damn it, we are going to raise taxes on the wealthy in the form of two new income tax brackets. If you are a Democrat in the General Assembly and vote against this, you will be primaried in 2018 unless you do the right thing and join the Republican Party immediately after you cast your no vote.
Here is the rest of our list of important legislation that Democrats must pass.
- A Budget that includes 2 New Income Brackets above $100k (in case you already forgot).
- HB42 – Sentencing Reform – Changing Consecutive to Concurrent – Bolden
- HB47 – Removal of Notary Requirement from Absentee Voting – Yearick – Passed the House 37-0-3-1
- HB54 – Regulating Predatory Payday Loans – Keeley
- HB63 – No Excuse Absentee Voting – Jaques
- HB71 – Financial Disclosures for Public Officers (CMPB) – Kowalko
- HB78 – Improving Campaign Finance Disclosure – Williams
- HB79 – Automatic Voter Registration – Bentz
- HB89 – April Primary for all offices – Bolden – House passed 34-6-1
- HB90 – Early Voting – Bentz
- HB92 – Real Estate Transaction Disclosures by General Assembly – Williams
- HB96 – Collective Bargaining for State Employees – Mulrooney
- HB110 – Legalization of Marijuana – Keeley
- HB113 – Making the EITC Refundable – Baumbach – Passed House 34-6-1
- HB130 – Expanding the Lodging Tax to Short Term Rentals – Hudson
- Either the Senate must defeat HB125 or the General Assembly as a whole must pass HB155 – Death Penalty Preemption Act – Lynn
- SB5(S) – Protecting Reproductive Rights in Delaware – Townsend – Passed Senate 11-7-1-2.
- SB10 – Increasing Minimum Wage to $10.25 – Marshall
- SB27 – Independent Redistricting Commission – Townsend – Passed Senate 12-7-1-1
- SB28 – Requiring the Disclosure of Tax Returns by Presidential Candidates – Townsend
- SB30 – Campaign Finance Disclosure of Donors’ Occupation/Employment – Townsend
- SB65 – Banning Gay Conversion “Therapy” – McDowell