In his “Forever Press Conference”* a couple of weeks back, the Governor laid out his proposals for using the State’s additional revenues (for those of us on the limited government side, that would be “excessive taxes”). Generally, he wants to create or add to a bunch of slush funds so that he can control where all the money goes (Those of us who are skeptics call this buying votes).
|New Jobs Infrastructure Fund||$40M|
|Delaware Asset Preservation Fund||$35M|
|Housing Preservation Fund||$10M|
|Open Space Preservation||$10M|
|Financial Services Jobs Incentives||$8.5M|
| Reduction in Public Utility Tax and
Energy Efficiency Investment Program (Re-fund Weatherization after ARRA Fraud)
|Early Child Care and Education||$22M|
|Higher Education (aka Del Tech)||$30M|
|DE Hazardous Site Cleanup Act Fund (HSCA)||$4M|
|Total Slush Funds & Governor-directed Funds||$169M|
So, the Governor wants to be able to personally direct $169 million to his own pet projects, and this from the excess tax receipts that Delawareans have been fortunate to receive as a result of our position as the Corporate Capital of the Country and Court of Chancery.
Why can’t this win for Delaware? Because according to the Chicago Tribune (article can be found here):
Illinois in 2011 is on pace to provide much more money in financial incentive programs to businesses to retain and add jobs, with the total through early May exceeding $230 million pledged to 27 companies.
The Governor of Illinois is throwing, after increasing taxes on businesses and individuals, $8.5 million per company to 27 companies. Talk about Corporate Welfare and sticking it to small business and the little guy. This makes Governor Markell look like a piker. And that is just the point. We can’t win the “outspend Illinois” battle. What we can win is the reduce the burden of government on small businesses, streamline the regulatory process, reduce the reporting burdens, encourage new gas-powered energy generation.
Governor Markell is a consummate fundraiser. He is not a business person. He has never been in charge of an operating entity — he was responsible for raising a lot of money. He didn’t run the division to install cell towers; he raised the money. He didn’t run the division to open the stores; he raised the money. He didn’t run the division that built an accounting department; he raised the money.
Raising the money is good, but that isn’t what the State of Delaware needs. The State is in desperate need of economic growth. Growth that only comes from small businesses growing into big businesses. Governor Markell has no one on his staff that has any experience doing that. So, he simply defaulted into using the same failed tactics of Illinios, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware’s own Ruth Ann Minner, etc. Only, little ole Delaware isn’t big enough to play in that sandbox even if those techniques worked, which they don’t (at least they don’t work over the long haul).
The Governor needs to get out of his comfort zone, get away from his left-leaning, crony-capitalism handlers, and help Delaware’s economy. The sooner, the better.
* The “Forever Press Conference” was the Governor’s way of making a single policy announcement in three different press conferences over a week’s time. This way, the News Journal dutifully gave him 5-6 different lead articles on one news story — the Governor’s proposals for spending the found money. As a political observer, it was a beautiful thing to behold — the Governor and the News Journal working hand in glove to promote more of the “correct” spending.