Delaware General Assembly

A Shameful Budget

There are too many people smiling in this picture.  The Republicans are smiling.  They got everything they wanted.  The House and Senate and Governor Carney agreed to a shameful budget last night that exposed the lie that is and was “Shared Sacrifice.”   $11 million cut out of education.  A 20% cut to Grant In Aid nonprofits, like Senior Centers and Volunteer Firehouses and Meals on Wheels.  10% cut out of the Department of Health & Human Services.   All the while there will be no tax increase on the wealthy, no new income tax bracket above 150k, and the wealthy gets to keep all their inheritance through the elimination of the Estate Tax.  Meanwhile, regressive sales taxes are going up on alcohol and tobacco and it just got more expensive to buy a home in Delaware due to a increase in the realty transfer tax.

“We have met our constitutional obligation to pass a balanced budget, albeit a day late,” said House Speaker Pete Schwartzkopf. “We came into this year facing a $400 million revenue shortfall, and that challenge presented us with an opportunity to make some serious decisions to fix our structural problems with our budget.  “Unfortunately, we fell short in that goal. The positive result is both sides agreed on a budget that maintains critical services to our residents. With the revenue we raised, we were able to restore many of the cuts we initially had approved, including the Grant-in-Aid bill. But the budget also includes several painful cuts that will affect services to many Delawareans.

“We must continue to work toward fixing the structural problems with our budget, but both on the expenditure and the revenue sides. We have committed to several initiatives to study ways to make government more efficient and effective, and we must commit to addressing revenues, or we will continue to face these challenges. The people of Delaware expect and deserve more.”

Speaker Schwartzkopf, did we also commit to bringing fairness to our personal income tax structure?  I must have missed it.  It is time your caucus and your colleagues make raising taxes on the wealthy a singular goal of the Democrats in Dover.  It will have to be what the next session of the General Assembly is about, starting in January, a day by day push to create new tax brackets above $150,000.

And that charge will have to be led by Andria Bennett, who claims now that she is all for such an increase, even though she voted against it on Friday.  Well, if she is, then it will be the first bill introduced on the first day of the session in January, and she will be the prime sponsor.   I suspect, like her two cowardly votes last night where she switched her votes to no on the Alcohol Tax bill and the Realty Transfer Tax bill when it was clear her vote was not needed to pass it, that she will not be a woman of her word on that. But she only has one choice if wishes to maintain Democratic support in the upcoming election year.  If she fails to live up to her word, she will have to be defeated in the primary or general election.

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

8 comments on “A Shameful Budget

  1. We need to fight hard for this next year. To many Dems think that their base will be ok with these cuts to protect the rich.

    • Delaware Dem

      Along with our allies, we are going to develop a year long campaign starting soon. Stay tuned.

  2. Jason330

    Yeah, I was wrong about Bennett. Her pretext on Friday was so threadbare and stupid I was willing to believe that there must be something else going on. There wasn’t.

    • I’m perplexed by so many jumping to Bennett’s defense. On Thursday evening, she voted for the Grant in Aid bill which had the personal income tax increases in it, yet suddenly just 24 hours later she votes against it due to constituent requests.. hmm I’m doubtful. Did she post anything asking for feedback as some others have done on other issues (I didn’t see any on her Facebook) did she ever state how many constituents contacted her? In fact her district doesn’t even have an active democratic committee, she never cultivated or engaged the party and local party constituents and the district committee closed and she has not brought in any members of the district to reactivate it. And then when the new budget was published she changed her vote on several of the revenue bills voted on as part of the compromise, including the realty transfer tax. I find it interesting that the realtors were one of the most active lobby groups working against both the PIT and the transfer tax. To say she had different ideas for PIT is also questionable, if she did then why the heck didn’t she ever propose them or file a bill about it before? I used to live in her district and have never heard her speak in depth on any substantive issue, so I’m rather suspect that she had an alternative plan that was well developed or ever articulated to other members of the caucus until she was trying to explain why she decided to side with realtors instead of her caucus.

      • I was there both nights. The realtors were working against eliminating deductions, not the PIT.

        • Delaware Dem

          Well, there are a few problems with this comment. Deductions were not being eliminated. They were being limited, or capped, or reduced, at 50%. And this deduction reduction was the main source of raising revenues, particularly among the wealthy. So saying the realtors were working against eliminating deductions but not PIT is a distinction without any difference.

          • cassandram

            Indeed. And I would guess that the people the realtors said they were “protecting” would have been better off with a capped deduction plan rather than an upped transfer tax.

  3. Joshua W

    Hey DD, I’m wondering why Bennett is still listed as a Democrat on the Elected Officials page. Shouldn’t she join the DINOs that voted for HB16 as an Republican there?

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