Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for June, 2009

Delaware’s insular law enforcement community recently dedicated a new Mobile Tactical Trainer (MTT) system purchased from General Dynamics – one of the world’s largest defense contractors.

General Dynamics markets the device as a way to counter the “ever increasing threat of urban terrorism.”

According to the vendor, the MTT system consists of a series of movable and reconfigurable trailers and rooms monitored by closed- circuit TV, that “simulates the reality of urban terror.” It will be used by special response teams and other First Responders.

According to a written statement by the Delaware State Police, the MTT will enable “close-in urban operations training for mission success.”

State Police did not immediately respond to a request from the Caesar Rodney Institute for the cost of the MTT system.

UPDATE: Delaware State Police spokesman Sgt. Walter Newton said General Dynamics built the MTT for $428,000.

“The project was funded through Federal grants so all law enforcement agencies in the state could use the facility,” Newton said.

Read Full Post »

As our government increases the tax burden we’ll get more of what this video shows. A successful downtown should be vibrant, right?

Read Full Post »

It has happened. Well, it’s close to happening. The Delaware House of Representatives voted to increase a large handful of taxes and fees last night in their effort to close the state’s $800 million budget gap.

The legislators will tell you that the effort to close this gap has been an honest mix of spending cuts and tax increases. Not true. From day one, the plan was to raise taxes, with our elected officials only making the least painful of budget cuts.

The increases total $211 million in tax and fee increases. These bills still need to be passed by the Senate. And, there may be more hikes coming today in the last day of the session. As a reminder, these tax and fee increases are purportedly necessary to close the budget gap in the $3.09 billion budget that was introduced for the first time publicly yesterday. That’s right, the 241 page bill was released yesterday to be voted on today.

The increases:

  • Personal Income tax
  • Tobacco tax
  • Gross Receipts tax
  • Public Utility tax
  • Elimination of the exemption for lottery winnings
  • Re-establishment of the death tax
  • License/Document fees
  • Litering fees

One in four Delaware taxpayers are impacted by these increases. As reported in The News Journal, “State labor groups and Democratic Caucus leaders say balancing the budget through hasty cuts – rather than higher taxes – could seriously cripple state government.” (Montgomery, June 28, 2009)

What about hasty tax increases?

What about the obvious cases of egregious spending? (see Mike Chalmers article on the still unused MBNA building purchased for $13.4 million two years ago).

Early this year, Reason magazine noted that a good way to measure fiscal discipline is to calculate the rate of government spending growth versus the rate of population growth plus inflation. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, between 2000 and 2008, the population of Delaware grew by 10.2%. Over the same period, there was a 21% increase in inflation. Combined, these figures suggest that Delaware’s state budget growth should have been around 31%. Over this period the budget grew by 41%.

You can still let your voice be heard on the tax increases. To help put a stop to the fiscal recklessness in Dover, contact the State Senate TODAY! You can also contact Governor Markell at 302-744-4101.

Senator Harris McDowell (1)
Office: 302-744-4147
harris.mcdowell@state.de.us
Senator Margaret Rose Henry (2)
Office:  302-744-4191
margaretrose.henry@state.de.us
Senator Robert Marshall (3)
Office: 302-744-4168
robert.marshall@state.de.us
Senator Michael Katz (4)
Office:  302-744-4135
michael.katz@state.de.us
Senator Catherine Cloutier (5)
Office: 302-744-4137
cloutiercathy@aol.com
Senator Liane Sorenson (6)
Office: 302-744-4136
liane.sorenson@state.de.us
Senator Patricia Blevins (7)
Office:  302-744-4133
patricia.blevins@state.de.us
Senator David Sokola (8)
Office: 302-744-4139
david.sokola@state.de.us
Senator Karen Peterson (9)
Office:  302-744-4163
karen.peterson@state.de.us
Senator Bethany Hall-Long (10)
Office: 302-744-4138
bethany.hall-long@state.de.us
Senator Anthony DeLuca (11)
Office: 302-744-4165
anthony.deluca@state.de.us
Senator Dori Connor (12)
Office:  302-744-4164
dorinda.connor@state.de.us
Senator David McBride (13)
Office: 302-744-4167
david.mcbride@state.de.us
Senator Bruce Ennis (14)
Office:  302-744-4310
bruce.ennis@state.de.us
Senator Nancy Cook (15)
Office: 302-744-4237
no email provided
Senator Colin Bonini (16)
Office: 302-744-4169
senator-colin@prodigy.net
Senator Brian Bushweller (17)
Office:  302-744-4162
brian.bushweller@state.de.us
Senator Gary Simpson (18)
Office: 302-744-4134
gsimpson@udel.edu
Senator Thurman Adams (19)
Office:  302-744-4318
thurman.adams@state.de.us
Senator George Bunting (20)
Office: 302-744-4144
george.bunting@state.de.us
Senator Robert Venables (21)
Office: 302-744-4298
robert.venables@state.de.us

Read Full Post »

Cap and Trade

Read Full Post »

It’s June, the time for weddings, and if certain elected officials in the General Assembly have their way, it will also be the time for paying more to take that walk to the altar.

Yes, when the bride throws her bouquet, our legislators want to catch some cash. Raising the fee for a marriage license is just one of some two-dozen proposals to make it more expensive for folks to live in Delaware. As if propelled by an irresistible tic, the General Assembly looks to raising taxes and fees first — instead of considering more creative solutions to solve the state’s budget problems.

Why can’t the General Assembly do what millions of Americans have done when faced with financial problems:  look around your home, find assets that you don’t need, and sell them?  In Indiana, Governor Mitch Daniels inventoried the state’s assets and generated nearly $9 million by selling excess state cars, planes, and real estate.

In case you think this wouldn’t work in Delaware, did you know that our state owns two marinas!  Since Delaware isn’t launching its own navy, there doesn’t seem to be a pressing need for state support for yachting.

I have no doubt that a comprehensive, transparent inventory (as was done in Indiana) would reveal other unneeded assets that do not support basic state functions.  Of course, this would involve more work than simply passing lots of tax and fee increases, which is probably why the General Assembly hasn’t embraced this idea.

With a June 30 deadline looming to pass tax and fee increases, the time is now to let your legislators know that shaking down Delawareans for more cash is not the answer to our state’s fiscal situation; a leaner government — without marinas — is.

Read Full Post »

Delaware Employment

Between May, 2008 and May, 2009, Delaware government employment grew by 300 jobs. Delaware private sector employment shrank by 19,700 jobs. Click here to read more.

Read Full Post »

The casual way some in Dover, from the Governor to the House Majority Leader, say “we recognize these are bad choices,” or “everyone will share the burden,” or “there are negatives with any of these options” when discussing the myriad proposed tax increases is disturbing.

As quoted in today’s News Journal, Majority Leader Pete Schwartzkopf says, “Obviously it’s going to hurt….there’s probably going to be no one out there that isn’t touched.”

This is the problem. The Delaware General Assembly clearly does not understand the harmful impact of all of these tax increases. I’m not sure they realize that there is a bigger picture than balancing the budget (yes, I know it needs to be done, but at the expense of improving Delawareans).

Here are the increases per The News Journal,

  • An increase in the personal income tax. House Bill 264, one of eight revenue bills introduced Monday, would raise the tax from 5.55 percent to 5.95 percent on taxable income from $50,000 to $60,000, from 5.95 percent to 6.95 percent on income from $60,000 to $150,000, and from 5.95 percent to 7.45 percent on income exceeding $150,000. That would raise an estimated $37.6 million.
  • Reinstating the inheritance tax. The tax, abolished in 1999, would be calculated using the rate schedule for state tax credits under the federal law in 2001. That is expected to raise $5 million.
  • Raising the gross receipts tax, often called Delaware’s hidden sales tax. That would raise about $7 million.
  • Raising the public utilities tax on cable TV and other services, and subjecting satellite TV services to the tax. That would raise about $7.1 million.
  • Raising the corporate franchise tax, which would net the state an estimated $127.4 million.
  • Bills to raise the taxes on alcohol and cigarettes were defeated in the House last week, but they remain alive through Thursday, thanks to a parliamentary maneuver by the Democrats. The taxes would raise almost $21 million.”

    Read Full Post »

    While Delaware lawmakers consider some two dozen (or more) proposed tax and fee increases, Maine’s legislature is moving in the opposite direction. From the Wall Street Journal,

    At last, there’s a place in America where tax cutting to promote growth and attract jobs is back in fashion. Who would have thought it would be Maine?

    This month the Democratic legislature and Governor John Baldacci broke with Obamanomics and enacted a sweeping tax reform that is almost, but not quite, a flat tax. The new law junks the state’s graduated income tax structure with a top rate of 8.5% and replaces it with a simple 6.5% flat rate tax on almost everyone. Those with earnings above $250,000 will pay a surtax rate of 0.35%, for a 6.85% rate. Maine’s tax rate will fall to 20th from seventh highest among the states. To offset the lower rates and a larger family deduction, the plan cuts the state budget by some $300 million to $5.8 billion, closes tax loopholes and expands the 5% state sales tax to services that have been exempt, such as ski lift tickets.

    This is a big income tax cut, especially given that so many other states in the Northeast and East — Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey and New York — have been increasing rates. “We’re definitely going against the grain here,” Mr. Baldacci tells us. “We hope these lower tax rates will encourage and reward work, and that the lower capital gains tax [of 6.85%] brings more investment into the state.”

    These changes alone are hardly going to earn the Pine Tree State the reputation of “pro-business.” Neighboring New Hampshire still has no income or sales tax. And last year Maine was ranked as having the third worst business climate for states by the Small Business Survival Committee. Still, no state has improved its economic attractiveness more than Maine has this year.

    One question is how Democrats in Augusta were able to withstand the cries by interest groups of “tax cuts for the rich?” Mr. Baldacci’s snappy reply: “Without employers, you don’t have employees.” He adds: “The best social services program is a job.” Wise and timely advice for both Democrats and Republicans as the recession rolls on and budgets get squeezed.

    The most recent version of PIT increases in Delaware comes via House Bill 264. If passed, the bill will result in the following tax rates:

    • 5.95% of taxable income between $50,000 and $60,000; (inc. from 5.55% to 5.95%)
    • 6.95% of taxable income between $60,000 and $150,000; (inc. from 5.95% to 6.95%)
    • 7.45% of taxable income above $150,000 (inc. from 5.95% to 7.45%)

    Read Full Post »

    President Obama and the Congress are pushing for reforms that will move the US health care system closer to that of Canada’s or Great Britain.  If this is successful, you will have fewer health care choices and your access to care will be more limited.  The government, not you and your doctor, will be responsible for determining whether you receive care.

    You will be “wait listed” for critical diagnostic tests. You may wait two or three years for surgery.  You may not have access to life-saving cancer and other drugs.  Yet, you will pay higher taxes. You can help stop this government takeover of health care.

    Send a message to the White House and every member of Congress by signing the petition at www.freeourhealthcarenow.com.

    Read Full Post »

    State Rep. John Kowalko’s House Bill 238 is now in committee. This bill will increase the current top personal income tax rate to 6.95% from 5.95% and will create a new top tier for people earning over $100,000 of 7.95%.

    House Bill 239, which will raise the fee for LLCs to $300 is now also in committee.

    As is House Bill 240, which will raise the corporate franchise tax from $165,000 to $195,000.

    All of theses bills are economy killers. In a time when we need to be stimulating the economy, spawning new entrepreneurial activity and creating jobs we cannot, should not and must not raise taxes.

    Wait, there is more. Kowalko is also sponsoring House Bill 241 which will further increase the fees on LLCs to $275 (a variation to House Bill 239, as best I can tell).

    And a variation to House Bill 238, which will set the following P.I.T. rates:

    • 5.65% of taxable income in excess of $25,000 but not in excess of $60,000;
    • 6.95% of taxable income in excess of $60,000 but not in excess of $100,000;
    • 7.45% of taxable income in excess of $100,000.

    Please help us oppose this legislation by contacting your state legislator and voice your opposition to tax increases.

    Scroll down to find your legislator’s contact information. Don’t know your legislator, go here.

    In case you would like a reminder on why taxes are bad, watch this:\

    State Representatives (district number is next to the legislator’s name)

    Representative Dennis P. Williams (1)
    Office: 302-744-4351
    dennis.williams@state.de.us
    Representative Hazel Plant (2)
    Office:  302-744-4351
    hazel.plant@state.de.us
    Representative Helene Keeley (3)
    Office: 302-744-4351
    helene.keeley@state.de.us
    Representative Gerald Brady (4)
    Office:  302-744-4351
    gerald.brady@state.de.us
    Representative Melanie Marshall (5)
    Office: 302-744-4351
    melanie.marshall@state.de.us
    Representative Tom Kovach (6)
    Office: 302-744-4174
    thomas.kovach@state.de.us
    Representative Bryon Short (7)
    Office:  302-744-4351
    bryon.short@state.de.us
    Representative Quinton Johnson (8)
    Office: 302-744-4351
    quinton.johnson@state.de.us
    Representative Richard Cathcart (9)
    Office:  302-744-4032
    richard.cathcart@state.de.us
    Representative Dennis E. Williams (10)
    Office: 302-744-4351
    dennis.e.williams@state.de.us
    Representative Gregory Lavelle (11)
    Office: 302-744-4080
    greg.lavelle@state.de.us
    Representative Deborah Hudson (12)
    Office:  302-744-4249
    deborah.hudson@state.de.us
    Representative John Mitchell (13)
    Office: 302-744-4351
    john.l.mitchell@state.de.us
    Representative Peter Schwartzkopf (14)
    Office:  302-744-4351
    peter.schwartzkopf@state.de.us
    Representative Valerie Longhurst (15)
    Office: 302-744-4351
    valerie.longhurst@state.de.us
    Representative James Johnson (16)
    Office: 302-744-4351
    jj.johnson@state.de.us
    Representative Michael Mulrooney (17)
    Office:  302-744-4351
    michael.mulrooney@state.de.us
    Representative Michael Barbieri (18)
    Office: 302-744-4351
    michael.barbieri@state.de.us
    Speaker Robert Gilligan (19)
    Office:  302-744-4351
    robert.gilligan@state.de.us
    Representative Nick Manolakos (20)
    Office: 302-744-4321
    nick.t.manolakos@state.de.us
    Representative Michael Ramone (21)
    Office: 302-744-4108
    michael.ramone@state.de.us
    Representative Joseph Miro (22)
    Office: 302-744-4123
    joseph.miro@state.de.us
    Representative Theresa Schooley (23)
    Office:  302-744-4351
    terry.schooley@state.de.us
    Representative William Oberle (24)
    Office: 302-744-4173
    william.oberle@state.de.us
    Representative John Kowalko (25)
    Office:  302-744-4351
    john.kowalko@state.de.us
    Representative John Viola (26)
    Office: 302-744-4351
    john.viola@state.de.us
    Representative Earl Jaques (27)
    Office: 302-744-4351
    earl.jaques@state.de.us
    Representative William Carson (28)
    Office:  302-744-4351
    william.carson@state.de.us
    Representative Pamela Thornburg (29)
    Office: 302-744-4175
    pam.thornburg@state.de.us
    Representative Bobby Outten (30)
    Office:  302-744-4083
    bobby.outten@state.de.us
    Representative Darryl Scott (31)
    Office: 302-744-4351
    darryl.scott@state.de.us
    Representative Bradford Bennett (32)
    Office: 302-744-4351
    bradford.bennett@state.de.us
    Representative Robert Walls (33)
    Office:  302-744-4351
    robert.walls@state.de.us
    Representative Don Blakey (34)
    Office: 302-744-4103
    donald.blakey@state.de.us
    Representative Dave Wilson (35)
    Office:  302-744-4150
    david.wilson@state.de.us
    Representative George Carey (36)
    Office: 302-744-4119
    no email provided
    Representative Joseph Booth (37)
    Office: 302-744-4251
    joseph.booth@state.de.us
    Representative Gerald Hocker (38)
    Office:  302-744-4381
    gerald.hocker@state.de.us
    Representative Daniel Short (39)
    Office: 302-744-4172
    daniel.short@state.de.us
    Representative Biff Lee (40)
    Office:  302-744-4034
    biff.lee@state.de.us
    Representative John Atkins (41)
    Office: 302-744-4351
    john.atkins@state.de.us

    State Senators (district number is next to the legislator’s name)

    Senator Harris McDowell (1)
    Office: 302-744-4147
    harris.mcdowell@state.de.us
    Senator Margaret Rose Henry (2)
    Office:  302-744-4191
    margaretrose.henry@state.de.us
    Senator Robert Marshall (3)
    Office: 302-744-4168
    robert.marshall@state.de.us
    Senator Michael Katz (4)
    Office:  302-744-4135
    michael.katz@state.de.us
    Senator Catherine Cloutier (5)
    Office: 302-744-4137
    cloutiercathy@aol.com
    Senator Liane Sorenson (6)
    Office: 302-744-4136
    liane.sorenson@state.de.us
    Senator Patricia Blevins (7)
    Office:  302-744-4133
    patricia.blevins@state.de.us
    Senator David Sokola (8)
    Office: 302-744-4139
    david.sokola@state.de.us
    Senator Karen Peterson (9)
    Office:  302-744-4163
    karen.peterson@state.de.us
    Senator Bethany Hall-Long (10)
    Office: 302-744-4138
    bethany.hall-long@state.de.us
    Senator Anthony DeLuca (11)
    Office: 302-744-4165
    anthony.deluca@state.de.us
    Senator Dori Connor (12)
    Office:  302-744-4164
    dorinda.connor@state.de.us
    Senator David McBride (13)
    Office: 302-744-4167
    david.mcbride@state.de.us
    Senator Bruce Ennis (14)
    Office:  302-744-4310
    bruce.ennis@state.de.us
    Senator Nancy Cook (15)
    Office: 302-744-4237
    no email provided
    Senator Colin Bonini (16)
    Office: 302-744-4169
    senator-colin@prodigy.net
    Senator Brian Bushweller (17)
    Office:  302-744-4162
    brian.bushweller@state.de.us
    Senator Gary Simpson (18)
    Office: 302-744-4134
    gsimpson@udel.edu
    Senator Thurman Adams (19)
    Office:  302-744-4318
    thurman.adams@state.de.us
    Senator George Bunting (20)
    Office: 302-744-4144
    george.bunting@state.de.us
    Senator Robert Venables (21)
    Office: 302-744-4298
    robert.venables@state.de.us

    Read Full Post »

    Older Posts »