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Archive for the ‘Delaware’ Category

As readers of this blog know, opinions are fine, but back it up with data. The following was on the editorial page of today’s Wall Street Journal. The facts are what they are.

Brookings Institution Senior Fellow Ron Haskins testifying before the Senate Finance Committee, June 5:

I want to emphasize the importance of individual initiative in reducing poverty and promoting economic success. Young people can virtually assure that they and their families will avoid poverty if they follow three elementary rules for success—complete at least a high school education, work full time, and wait until age 21 and get married before having a baby. Based on an analysis of Census data, people who followed all three of these rules had only a 2% chance of being in poverty and a 72% chance of joining the middle class (defined as above $55,000 in 2010). These numbers were almost precisely reversed for people who violated all three rules, elevating their chance of being poor to 77% and reducing their chance of making the middle class to 4%.

Individual effort and good decisions about the big events in life are more important than government programs. Call it blaming the victim if you like, but decisions made by individuals are paramount in the fight to reduce poverty and increase opportunity in America. The nation’s struggle to expand opportunity will continue to be an uphill battle if young people do not learn to make better decisions about their future.

via Notable & Quotable – WSJ.com.

Now, some on the Left (actually, most on the Left) will argue that Government needs to provide those full-time jobs. But, of course, the Left’s understanding of how to create a full-time job seems quite limited. Full-time jobs are created because the value of the work performed is greater than the cost of the work performed.

Government jobs do not create value. Government jobs are, generally, regulatory/oversight/bureaucratic by design. This doesn’t mean that all government jobs are “bad”, but we long ago passed the point of diminishing returns as it relates to health & safety.

The only entity that creates full-time jobs in which the value created by the job is greater than the cost of performing the job is the private sector.

So, let’s summarize what Delaware’s Government can do…

  • Provide educational options so that kids stay in school through high school (which means that Delaware needs more high-performing, niche schools like Kuumba Academy, Newark Charter or DAPSS);
  • Reduce the regulatory burden of the State on Small Businesses and quit wasting tens of millions of dollars of taxpayer money on crony capitalism and leave that money in the pockets of the job creators;
  • Promote abstinence and marriage.

Simple enough.

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REP. LAVELLE SAYS AN AMENDMENT TO HIS COMPENSATION COMMISSION

REFORM MEASURE WILL STRENGTHEN THE BILL

            State Representative Greg Lavelle (R-Sharpley) today announced that he has introduced an amendment to his legislation (House Bill 159) that would change the procedure by which top legislative, judicial and executive branch officials receive a pay raise.

House Bill 159 would reform the system by which legislators, judges and members of the Executive Branch receive a pay hike, as recommended by the Delaware Compensation Commission.  Established in 1984, the Delaware Compensation Commission reviews the salaries of these top officials every four years and issues recommendations.  Under the current law, this report – next due in January 2013 – automatically becomes law unless lawmakers intervene to stop it.  House Bill 159 would make the report advisory in nature only.  Rep. Lavelle’s new amendment would make it advisory only for elected officials.  Under the amendment, any recommended pay raise would automatically take effect for judges and Executive Branch officials, unless the General Assembly votes to reject the Commission’s report.

Rep. Lavelle said he decided to amend the bill, as it appeared otherwise stalled despite being on the House Ready List.  He stated, “I’ve always said there is more than one way to skin this cat.  I’ve heard some concerns about ‘market-rate’ compensation for a variety of appointed officials and this amendment takes that into consideration.  I simply believe that elected officials should not get automatic pay raises.  The legislature has a procedure for increasing salaries for all other state employees through the Joint Finance Committee’s budget-writing process.  Any pay increase that state elected officials receive should be voted on by the General Assembly.”

Rep. Lavelle also stated, “With one month to go before the legislative session concludes, we are getting down to the wire on when we can consider this bill.  I urge my colleagues in the House to take up this measure for consideration sooner rather than later.”

Until the compensation system is changed, Rep. Lavelle said he will continue donating his salary hike to local charities.  Every year since 2005, Rep. Lavelle has donated his pay raise that went into effect following the Compensation Commission’s recommendation that year.  State law requires the General Assembly to take affirmative action in order for a proposed pay hike to be rejected.  Because the General Assembly never voted against the recommendation in 2005, the increase automatically took effect by default.

Rep. Lavelle’s total contributions will exceed $30,000 and decisions about which charitable organizations will receive a portion of the annual contribution will be made after the new fiscal year starts on July 1st.

Rep. Lavelle introduced the amendment to House Bill 159 earlier this week.  The legislation has been released from committee and is awaiting consideration by the full House.

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Readers of this blog know that I like data. Figures never lie — although liars do figure… More data to support my view that Rep. Williams is making a purely political decision so that he can become Mayor of Wilmington by burdening Delawareans — low income ones as well as high income ones — with higher taxes and lower services for years to come.

Again, if this is an indication of the type of Chief Executive he’ll be for Wilmington, perhaps Bill Montgomery is the best choice…

The Delaware JFC: Clueless?

The Joint Finance Committee (JFC) of the Delaware legislature has proposed a 1% hike in the salaries of all state employees…including public education, colleges and universities, and retiree pensions. The estimated $21 million addition to the FY 2013 expenditures (July 1, 2012 to June 30, 2013) flies in the face of the state’s fiscal realities.

For the current FY 2012 ending in June, state expenditures will have risen 10.4% over FY 2011. State revenue, however, is projected to come in -5.5% lower than last FY. The gap between expenditures and revenues has been made up primarily by carry over funds from the previous year and borrowing.

This is not a healthy picture.

Over the past seven years total state salaries have risen 3.6% per annum and fringe benefits by 6.4%. Pension payments have soared by 10.3% a year while the funded pension liability has dropped from 103% to 94%. The total unfunded health care liability for state retirees is now close to $6.0 billion.

Meanwhile, over this same time period Medicaid spending by the state has risen 12% a year and at $630 million now eats up over 17% of the state budget. Finally, state payments for contractual services have gone up almost 15% a year.

The Delaware Economic and Financial Advisory Council (DEFAC) projects FY 13 revenue to be almost $3.7 billion, a 10.6% increase. This drops to an 8.9% increase when a one-time $60 million tax settlement is excluded. The 8.9% includes a very optimistic 57% jump in the net corporate income tax and an extraordinary hike of 81% in revenue from abandoned property.

If the corporate income tax and abandoned property revenue rise only 8.9%, and the one-time $60 million is excluded, FY 13 revenue will only rise by 1.5%. And DEFAC predicts that FY 14 revenue will come in -2.0% below the optimistic FY 13 projection.

Both the Delaware Office of Management and Budget and the Department of Finance has tried to get the JFC to face reality. The response of JFC co-chair, Rep. Dennis P. Williams, is “you propose and we dispose.”

Such a caviler [sic] attitude in face of the dire circumstances the state of Delaware confronts is a recipe for fiscal disaster.

Dr. John E. Stapleford, Director

Center for Economic Policy and Analysis

via Caesar Rodney Institute.

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The News Journal ran a story today about the Joint Finance Committee’s vote for a State Employee pay raise. Several members of the committee did not support the move. Budget Committee Chair and presumptive Wilmington Mayor, Dennis Williams, was the key mover to spending this money and chastised the opponents:

Williams defended the pay raise and challenged Miro and Briggs-King to do more for low-wage [state] workers if that’s what they think is necessary.

via Committee OKs 1% pay raise for state workers, retirees | The News Journal | delawareonline.com.

Rep. Williams seems to forget who is paying for the pay raise. How about the 30,000 unemployed Delawareans? When the unemployed go to the store, they are paying the gross receipts tax (even when using food stamps). When they make a phone call, they are paying a telecommunications tax. When they pay their power bill, they pay a public utilities tax. The same can be said about the tens of thousands of under-employed Delawareans. — Adding this revenue bite to Delawareans during this economy is extremely poor policy — especially for those that live in the city that Rep. Williams would like to lead as mayor.

Given his actions today, are we to expect that Rep. Williams is going to run Wilmington in a fiscally responsible manner? To quote Bugs Bunny… “What a maroon.”

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The following is a January 31, 1927 article in Time Magazine about Delaware and Pierre S. du Pont.

Pierre du Pont was the founder of the modern American corporation. He along with 2 other cousins, T. Coleman du Pont and Alfred I du Pont conducted a leveraged buy-out of the Dupont Company around 1902 and proceeded to grow it into the dominant force that it was to remain for 80 years. Pierre then went on the build General Motors, the Empire State building, Delaware’s tax collecting authority and its first blush with educational excellence. Then he got around to finishing the gardens at his home in Pennsylvania, Longwood Gardens.

It is capitalists like this that the “Occupy” “Movement” seems to detest.

It may be hard to read, so the last two paragraph follow:

Here is where he crossed the tracks of the politicians. Delaware has a $3-per-capita filing fee or tax. If this tax were abolished 100,000 people would cheer for the politicians. It would also leave the bulk of the income tax to be paid by about 680 well-to-do people in Wilmington and environs (many of them duPonts). As a vote-pulling measure, it might be tremendously popular. Pierre duPont could go on putting millions of dollars into the school system while most of the beneficiaries would never feel a burden.

So, Mr. duPont called a halt. He felt his commonwealth was becoming a feudal state. Delaware was becoming too dependent upon private beneficence for her public works. Generosity had begun to eat into the self-respect of citizenship. Public conscience seemed to need time to breathe and re-assert itself. Huge dividends from DuPont, General Motors and other sources were diverted from the channels they have taken for a decade while Pierre duPont sat back to see what would become of a hobby as dear to him as Back symphonies and horticulture. Philanthropy, he must have reflected, can be a bigger gamble than poker, and often without the fun.

As the MBNA generated wealth has fled the State and the du Pont family wealth has dissipated, Delaware has resorted to gambling and escheat to balance its books. Delaware’s per capita spending is at some of the highest levels in the nation while our local taxes are fairly low. However, the results of all this “free” money has been economic stagnation, an awful educational system, and a shrinking employment base.

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There was an Op-Ed in the News Journal today by a couple of Democrats — Claire Snyder-Hall is chair of the Democratic Committee in the 14th Representative District, and Joanne Cabry is chair of the Progressive Democrats of Sussex County. The title of their epistle is: “State GOP has become inhospitable to moderates

Ms. Cabry is a self-professed Progressive. Progressives used to be called Liberals until that moniker became too negative. Of course, Liberals used to be called Progressives until Progressive became unpalatable to the electorate. Ms. Snyder-Hall is House Speaker Pete Schwarzkopf’s local committee leader, in other words, a leading Democrat partisan.

My take?

When your opponents are criticizing you, you must be doing something right. If they are ignoring you, then you must not be doing anything.

Kudos to the State Republican Party for moving forward with a unified message and convention. The Democrats are already starting to worry…

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S0 Longwood Gardens has now put 10 acres of virgin ground into darkness under these “attractive” (NOT) solar panels.  It will make the amount of electricity that would power 138 homes.

They are afraid that they won’t be able to expand this with the other phase that they had planned because there is a glut of the solar energy credits on the market that make this economically feasible.  They only have value because the electric companies are forced to buy the credits by law.  The costs are then passed on, through higher electric rates,  to  consumers who are already having a hard time paying their bills in the “ObamaConomy”.  The Longwood director says:

But as far as the second phase, “As far as I’m concerned, the project’s dead, until the State of Pennsylvania gets its act together,” Redman said.

But help may be on the way, the PA legislature is considering a bill to force the companies to buy more of these worthless credits.  So he looks forward to the state taking more money out of the pockets of the long suffering homeowners to fund this homage to the Greenys.  Delaware has dealt with the low price problem caused by the glut of these SRECs by “Price Fixing” them at above market rates.  So we Delawareans are being ripped off two ways.  We have the best politicians money can buy! Yea!!

 

5,000 solar panels installed at Longwood | The News Journal | delawareonline.com.

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About 8 hours before sideswiping a parked police car and getting his second DUI charge, State Rep. Brad Bennett posted “Let’s go Flyers…and Phillies too……..” to his facebook page.

Maybe he shouldn’t have gotten so flyered up?

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Many Delawareans don’t realize that the state constitution was amended to allow felons to vote without getting a pardon from the governor.  This was done about 12 years ago.  Currently their voting rights are restored 5 years after the discharge of their sentence unless they had committed certain heinous crimes.

It appears that we can’t be deprived of  their valuable input in our elections for that long.  The house has passed a constitutional amendment to remove the 5 year requirement.  They tried this before in 2009.

www.legis.delaware.gov – Official web site of First State Legislature.

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Wake Up Delaware is an interesting website that was launched earlier this month.    It is written by two sisters from Sussex county, Joy Whaley Hill and Kimberly Whaley Mascheri, whose grandparents were murdered in 1961 and have appeared before the Board of Parole 17 times to prevent the convicted killer from being released.   They are obviously against the dismantlement of the Board of Parole and testified last summer against HB35.

There are quite a few other pages on their site:

Nice work Joy and Kimberly!

 

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