Former State Senator John Still reminded me of the following letter. It was sent by the Republican Minority Caucus of the State Senate on May 9, 2007. I believe that the Governor’s response was a polite “brush-off”. Of course, Lt. Governor Carney was silent.
To bad the Democrats failed to respond. Their failure led to a 17 % personal income tax increase, increased State debt & repeated budget crises.
For your reading enjoyment, a Republican warning from the past….
May 9, 2007
The Honorable Ruth Ann Minner
Dear Governor Minner,
The Senate Republican Caucus hereby requests that your financial staff compile a broad-based recommendation for cost-savings by state government to mitigate the looming shortfall of revenues to support needs the government has promised to meet.
In recent days, there have been revelations from your department heads of another half-billion dollars needed in the next few years for upgrades in corrections and for school construction. Added to the over $1.5 billion needed for transportation projects previously brought to light, the scale of the projected shortfalls makes immediate action to control spending imperative in our view.
At the same time, there is much talk about “enhancing” revenues by a variety of devices, including tax and fee increases.
For the last several years an increasing number of our Caucus have been concerned with Delaware’s ability to sustain our budget expenditures. Our concerns only continue to grow. Last year, for the 4th time in the last 6 years, your administration has spent more per person than the government has taken in.
Therefore, it is our strong and unanimous position that the first step should be to immediately tighten the state’s belt, and we consider this a prerequisite to any discussion of increasing revenues by adding to the burden on Delaware’s taxpayers by any means.
Once action is taken to identify cost-saving plans for the remainder of this fiscal year and the coming year(s), we pledge to sit down in a cooperative effort to make the tough choices that clearly will need to be made.
It is notable that when this year’s budget bill was passed ten months ago a majority of the Republican Senators voted NO. There were many reasons for voting against that budget, but for most of us the overriding concern was that the budget grew government at a rate far above the growth in the general economy.
Annual budget growth that is out of line with the real economic world has been the trend in Delaware for too long. We anticipated that this would catch up with us before long, and the consequences are now apparent.
Some government services and activities are obviously more critical than others to the public safety, health and welfare of our citizens. We think prudence requires a broad-based strategy to manage expenditures across state government in those areas where spending is discretionary and controllable.
As you know, working families in Delaware have suffered significant loss of disposable income in recent years due to economic stagnation in Delaware. People have cut back in their household budgets, modified their expectations and changed their spending habits on items that are within their discretion and ability to control.
State government should demonstrate a sincere and comprehensive effort to similarly tighten its belt to ensure maximum efficiency and effectiveness in the use of public resources. We suggest that a meaningful plan should achieve a minimum cost-savings of 5% (over $150 million) with a goal of at least 10% (over $300 million).
Once that process is accomplished, it will be appropriate to explore all options to cover critical revenue shortfalls, and we are committed to working together to make the difficult choices required.
Charles L. Copeland Liane M. Sorenson Steven H. Amick
Senate Minority Leader Senate Minority Whip Senator, 10th District
Colin R. M. J. Bonini Catherine L. Cloutier Dorinda A. Connor
Senator, 16th District Senator, 5th District Senator, 12th District
F. Gary Simpson John C. Still
Senator, 18th District Senator, 17th District