Delaware GOP doesn’t want to end its hostage standoff

Republicans have drafted a temporary stop gap measure that would allow them more time to hold the government hostage over its demands to make working families poorer by repealing the prevailing wage.  Republicans have so far refused to discuss specific budget cuts nor entertain any new revenue sources, like increases in the personal income tax and other sin taxes, until they get to shoot their hostage: the prevailing wage.  And with June 30 fast approaching, they want more time to do it.

The Democrats are not having it.  Senate President Pro Tem David McBride:While we are disappointed with the decision by our Republican colleagues to pre-empt ongoing negotiations, our Caucus remains steadfast in its determination to get a fair, balanced budget deal done before the end of this legislative session, as is required by our state Constitution. To that end, we will continue to meet with our friends across the aisle in search of an agreement that puts Delawareans first, and that doesn’t balance our budget on the backs of students, teachers, and working families. Along with Governor Carney, we’ve made a strong case for a balanced solution that includes modest increases to revenues. And even in their own statements, our Republican friends have acknowledged new revenues may be necessary to maintain the services and programs Delawareans deserve and count on. We hope that in the days to come, we’ll be able to reach a compromise on the matters at the heart of our Republican friends’ objectionsmatters ancillary to the budgetso we can meet our collective obligation of putting our state on sound financial footing for years to come.”

State Representative Paul Baumbach: “I am supportive of having a backup plan, but not if the backup plan is introduced solely to enable a continuation of the current hostage crisis, which has been going on for three months already.”

Representative Baumbach also made this statement: “The report from [the] advisory council notes that Delaware’s state/local spending is high on a per capita basis (6th in the country), but our tax burden ranks as the 5th lowest in the nation (17% lower than the US average). Yet another case of picking and choosing information to share [by the Republican leaders Simpson and Lavelle].  The fiscal framework that Senators Simpson and Lavelle point to in this opinion piece is clearly based on the recommendations of that advisory council. But so is the Governor’s budget, and HB240, the personal income tax legislation which these two legislative leaders have held hostage for two months, causing the process to be entering a 100% unnecessary crisis period.

Understandably, elected officials of all parties do not like tax increases. Yet the features of HB240 these leaders are criticizing are fundamental to the fiscal framework they are claiming to support. HB240 incorporates the first two of the council’s recommendations for personal income tax changes.

I am hopeful that this week these two legislative leaders will begin having their actions live up to their words, to put the state first in working in cooperation to improve our financial framework, including immediate steps (supporting a fair personal income tax package) and longer-term steps (Budgetary Reserve Account, as recommended by the council).

In this last week (hopefully) of the 2017 legislative season, I am looking for all of my colleagues, and especially the 8 legislative leaders, to put the state first, negotiate in good faith to put Delaware on a firm fiscal path for the coming year, while also working to ensure that our future fiscal path is more solid. These are joint, non-partisan priorities that we can and should agree upon.”

House Speaker Pete Schwartzkopf and House Majority Leader Rep. Valerie Maglio Longhurst issued the following joint statement last night regarding the Republicans’ continuing budget resolution:

“We are troubled by the dangerous political games our Republican colleagues are bringing to Delaware. It sets a dangerous precedent and is an extremely irresponsible way to govern. We have come to the table. We agreed on a vast majority of Republican priorities from studying school district consolidation and Medicaid reform to creating a budget stabilization fund. They are willing to shut down negotiations over prevailing wage. This is about ideology, not responsible budget policy. How can we negotiate in good faith when we feel like the rug gets pulled out from under us every time we attempt to move forward? We have been saying since January that we want to fix this problem long-term for working families in Delaware and stop kicking the can down the road. This is the very definition of kicking the can down the road. We weren’t sent here to delay these kinds of difficult discussions – we were sent here to have them. Shutting down negotiations has the potential to hurt people in our state in real, meaningful ways. We need structural changes now. We need leadership right now to be serious about working on the problems without making excuses. They are jeopardizing the welfare of our state over an ideology.”

Delaware politics from a liberal, progressive and Democratic perspective. Keep Delaware Blue.

36 comments on “Delaware GOP doesn’t want to end its hostage standoff

  1. “Republicans have so far refused to discuss specific budget cuts”

    Tell me again which party shut down the Joint Finance Committee on state spending after only finding $80 million in cuts? Not the Republicans. Democrats stopped looking for spending cuts after a few pet constituencies started to squeal.

    Democrats have had the House, Senate, and Woodburn for close to a decade now. They own this fiscal crisis lock, stock, and barrel. Absolutely hilarious to watch the bluster of tax and spenders like Baumbach and Kowalko as the budget implodes.

    • cassandram

      The JFC stood down because their cuts (esp Education) were causing a furor and it seemed that there might be a revenue deal with the GOP. The GOP has presented their list and walked away over their Prevailing Wage bugaboo. As if paying working families less will do anything to help the economy. Plus prevailing wage would only impact the capital budget anyway. So as usual and much like their DC counterparts, we find that the Delaware GOP can’t be a responsible partner for governing. They got movement on the vast majority of their priorities — from studying school district consolidation and Medicaid reform to creating a budget stabilization fund. All that’s left is making sure that working families are paid less. It’s bullshit. And now the GOP is going to be responsible for massive cuts in education as well as in the non-profit funding.

      We can’t have that Trump bullshit here. This state needs to work.

      • “Democrats said some of the cuts could be avoided if Republicans simply agreed to their plan.”

        So, it’s basically each side wants it their way and the people of Delaware suffer.

        “Second, the state would raid the Educational Sustainment Fund, a flexible account districts can use for math specialists, after-school or other programs they choose.”

        Wow, they already RAID the transportation fund!

        And on Education, let the school districts pass a “one time” tax increase. This has totally gotten out of hand. Our elected officials, who have control; the Democrats want to wash their hands of a property tax increase. Their pushing it off to the school districts, who are the same and want to spend and tax!

        Keep electing these morons, who can’t think out of the box!!

        • I keep waiting for these “outside the box” thinkers who keep commenting here to produce a viable plan to keep the State functioning. So far all I hear is “TAX AND SPEND LIBRULS!!!”

          • Finally, you have said something I agree with. TAX AND SPEND LIBRULS!!!”
            Oh, by the way. If your going to be one, learn to spell it…L-i-b-e-r-a-l-s.

            There you go.

  2. Facts conveniently (?) ignored by xyz and Anono- 2/3rds majority needed to pass anything revenue related. So, no, Dems don’t “own” this lock stock and barrel. I mean it surely is nice to put that halo on top of your heads and say “Nuh uh, I didn’t do it” but here in the grown-up land where we adult, everyone has a responsibility to make this work. That includes Republicans who chose to golf and pitch a hissy fit over something that has nothing to do with the operating budget, rather than figure this out with Dems and work together.

    I agree with Cassandra. Trump bullshit need not apply here.

  3. Please. The adults in the room? Reference Paul Baumbach facebook page.

    A 80 million dollar cut to an 8 billion dollar budget “puts the American Dream at risk”.

    “Raise more than 110 million by raising taxes on Fortune 500 companies… a tax which will not affect a single Delawarean”… Like the Fortune 500 companies will just take the increase and not raise prices to compensate?
    Like no Delawarean buys products or uses services from a Fortune 500 company?

    And we are supposed to take this seriously?

    Democrats are simply not credible when it comes to controlling spending.

  4. Democrat dictionary:

    Proposing sensible reductions in state capital project costs = pitching a hissy fit

    Question for the Democrats on this board:

    Would you pay a painter $80/hr with your own money?

    • cassandram

      Current prevailing wage for a painter for Building Construction is 48.47. So you see your problem, right? You can’t even use real data to make your argument so why bother?

      • Check the results under heavy construction. 80.47/hr. For highway construction, 67.07.

        Should I point out a few other highlights for you?

        Cement finishers, building construction: $72.28
        (For New Castle County, somehow cement finishers in Sussex County only qualify for 22.17/hr. Why do democrats hate Sussex County cement finishers?)

        Laborers, building construction New Castle County, $44.70/hr
        Roofers, building construction New Castle County, $18.39/hr

        Guess the roofers union didn’t grease the right palms last cycle.

        Enough real data for you?

        • cassandram

          These are still burdened wages. School construction (before you trot out another local GOP canard) is in the Building Construction determination. Heavy construction is larger work — marine facilities, landfills, incinerators, water and wastewater treatment plants. Needs a higher level of skills in some cases. Painting a heavy construction project:

      • OK, would you pay a painter $48.47 an hour with your own money?

        That is over $100K/yr.

        • delacrat

          The current prevailing wage for painters is $48.47. Evidently people really do pay painters $48.47 an hour with their own money.

          • No, they don’t. These are rates negotiated by unions with elected officials and those appointed by elected officials who are counting on their votes.

            If these are really rates that people and companies are willing to pay, then why do we need the agreement?

            I repeat the question: Would you pay a painter $48.47/hr with your own money?

            I notice neither of you have answered yet.

            • cassandram

              You have how these rates are determined all wrong. Of course. And the GOP talking points fueling all of your resentment here pretty much count on the fact that you’ll never check on how these rates are determined, that you’ll never get that these rates come burdened, that you aren’t blue collar enough to be familiar with how these rates work and that you aren’t close enough to building anything to know that for projects that the state will pay for that labor is not exactly the biggest competitive problem.

              So you’ll just have to be happy with the manufactured outrage of wages that are being misrepresented to you.

            • delacrat

              When it’s a bridge, you don’t pinch pennies on the paint work. $48.47/hr sounds about right to me.

              • Sorry, that’s heavy construction. Your painter will cost you $80.47/hr. Rookie.

                • delacrat

                  If it’s my kid’s school, $48.47 / hr sounds about right.

        • cassandram

          C’mon. That is a *burdened* number. And most painters don’t work 2080 hours a year.

          You still have credibility issues here.

          • You still have evasion issues here. It’s a simple yes or no question. Would you pay a painter $48.47/hr with your own money?

            • And would you care to discuss why a cement finisher in New Castle County gets paid 3x what a cement finisher in Sussex County makes?

            • cassandram

              You don’t even know what you are asking here. So until you do you get the answers you get.

              Get smarter. If possible.

              • I’m asking you two questions.

                1) Would you pay a painter $48.47/hr with your own money.

                2) Why does a cement finisher in New Castle County get paid 3 times what the same cement finisher does in Sussex County according to the prevailing wage regulations?

                These are simple questions. Your failure to answer well illustrates the absurdity of the current prevailing wage laws in Delaware.

                • cassandram

                  No, you want people to justify an hourly rate that you are being told is outrageous. Come back when you know what a burdened wage rate is. Otherwise, you aren’t even prepared to be in this conversation.

                  • Ever prepared a purchase order for a project using prevailing wages?

                    Ever evaluated bids for work using prevailing wages?

                    Ever even worked on a capital project in any capacity that used labor under the prevailing wage laws?

                    I think I’m prepared to be in this discussion. You?

                    I know, three more questions when you still haven’t answered the first two.

                    • cassandram

                      I have bid and built Davis Bacon, prevailing wage (not DE tho) and union projects.
                      Most in the 8 figure range.

                      How about you?

                  • You are in over your head already and you keep swimming further away from shore.

          • Would rather not get into details but plenty of private and public sector capital work at similar levels so I know the difference.

            And I know what burdened means.

            • And you still haven’t answered the question.

              And in most cases what you would pay a private contractor is similar to the burdened rate. They pay benefits as well.

              • cassandram

                Yeah, you still don’t know what is in these rates, do you?

                • How about this: I’ll admit their is some value to society in collective bargaining (I do believe that) and you admit that there are some issues with Delaware’s prevailing wage structure and we can both go back to getting some work done before the weekend 🙂

                  Deal ?

                  • And I won’t bring up the issues with unions negotiating with those whom they help get elected with campaign contributions. 🙂

                    • delacrat

                      You won’t bring up the issues with corporations “negotiating with those whom they help get elected with campaign contributions.”

  5. It’s the little things that have to be done, control spending. For example; Colonial School has a billboard that says; “Congratulations Class of 2017” Did they really have to spend the funds on a billboard? What other wasteful spending is being done and who is minding the mint!!

    Listen, Markell put together the Bloom Energy deal under false information. Natural gas is not a renewable energy. And who is watching to see if Bloom is making their hiring quotas in Delaware?

    • delacrat

      “What other wasteful spending is being done…”

      If you’re so up on “other wasteful spending”let your reps in Dover know.

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