This bill has gotten some blowback from Progressives, who categorize it as another giveaway to corporations, with no actual protections or limitations in the bill that will guarantee that the funds go only to small businesses.
Senate Bill 127 establishes a fund to provide grants, loans or other economic assistance to businesses or public entities that invest in constructing, renovating or improving infrastructure for sites that will attract new businesses or expand existing businesses within the State to initiate economic development that will create new jobs. The funds are used to increase site readiness of under or undeveloped commercial or industrial sites in Delaware so that we can move businesses and industries to those sites.
To ensure fiscal accountability that site readiness funds are expended for their intended purpose, the applications will be administered in accordance with the existing regulations that govern applications made to the Strategic Fund. The Council on Development Finance will review the applications and supporting financial information to make recommendations to the Director of the Division of Small Business concerning the viability of the proposed project and whether the project meets the criteria established by this legislation to award funding. The Director has the final authority to award funding based on the Council’s recommendations and the requirements imposed by this legislation.
The Director shall administer any such award in accordance with the requirements of Delaware law and the existing Strategic Fund regulations. To protect the assets of the Fund, the Director may require recapture provisions in any contract agreements for grants, loans or other economic assistance that recover for any substantial or complete cessation of operations or failure to reach any employment or other benchmarks. The Director may require the applicant to report financial statements and project progress reports to determine that expenditures on the project are consistent with the purpose of the Fund.
Representatives Kowalko, Morrison and Wilson-Anton wanted stronger guarantees that the funds go to small businesses and not to multi million dollar corporations who don’t need our tax dollars. Unfortunately, they were the only three who felt that way, as the bill passed 37-3-1. It now heads to the Governor.
|Senate Bill 127 Sponsors||Yes Votes||No Votes|
|Walsh, Pettyjohn, Mantzavinos, Hansen, Hocker, Lawson, Poore, Richardson, Sokola, Sturgeon, Wilson||Senate Passed 21-0. Brown Ennis Gay Hansen Lockman Mantzavinos Paradee Pinkney Poore S.McBride Sokola Sturgeon Townsend Walsh Bonini Hocker Lawson Lopez Pettyjohn Richardson Wilson|
|Bush, Yearick, Briggs King, Gray, Lynn. D.Short, M.Smith, Spiegelman, K.Williams||Passed House 37-3-1. Baumbach Bennett Bentz Bolden Brady Bush Carson Chukwuocha Cooke Dorsey-Walker Griffith Heffernan K.Johnson Lambert Longhurst Lynn Matthews Minor-Brown Mitchell Osienski S.Moore Schwartzkopf Briggs King Collins D.Short Dukes Gray Hensley M.Smith Morris Postles Ramone Shupe Smyk Spiegelman Vanderwende Yearick||K.Williams (Absent), Kowalko, Morrison, Wilson-Anton|
|Current Status:||Sent to Governor|
Representative Bill Bush: “I am excited to say that SB 127 passed the House of Representatives and is on its way to the Governor for signature. This bill, which I sponsored with Senator Jack Walsh will assist in creating commercial and industrial sites in Delaware to help attract businesses. To ensure Delaware’s future and ongoing economic success, there is a need for a supply of sites that can accommodate the growth needs of companies and help expedite the start up time for new companies. States that are proactive in developing a ready supply of sites are more likely to be more successful in attracting and retaining businesses with high-quality jobs.”