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Governor Carney's Budget Forecast : Senator Bryant Richardson

Date: April 20, 2017
Happy Easter!
 News from State Senator
 Bryant Richardson
 Serving the 21st Senatorial District
April 13, 2017
Governor Carney's Budget Forecast
Recently, Governor John Carney delivered a Special Address to a Joint Session of the General Assembly. By now most know Delaware has a projected $385 million budget shortfall forecast for 2018.
The governor said to close this gap would take a combination of tax increases and spending cuts. His proposed tax increases are: 
Corporation Franchise,
Tobacco (and related products) 
Personal Income. 
These are expected to generate $193 million toward next year's budget. 
The Corporation Franchise tax is only for firms with more than $750 million in revenues. Obviously this does not affect what are know as "mom & pop" businesses.
The tax on a pack of cigarettes increases one dollar a pack, from $1.60 to $2.60. 
The personal income tax increases approximately 0.2 points with the top rate rising to 6.8 percent.
On the expense side there is no money allocated for open space or farmland preservation. One of the more sensitive cuts is to the amount of credit the state will allow for senior citizens on their property taxes. This drops from $500 to $400.
There are some expenses that will increase despite the need to trim expenses. One addresses the need for more security in our prisons following the tragic loss of a correctional officer in early February. Another is for Medicaid, which the state has minimum control over. The student unit count is also rising, resulting in the need for additional teachers.
"The best way to move beyond a fiscal crisis like the one we're in is to grow our economy.  Stronger economic growth, and more and better jobs, helps Delaware families. And it helps us fund the state's budget," Carney said.
 I wholehearted agree that our emphasis needs to be on economic growth.
Carney mentioned that attention would be paid to redevelop existing facilities that are unused or underutilized, including the Seaford nylon plant.  
"We need a new, more dynamic, economic development strategy," Carney said. "The Delaware Economic Development Office needs to be at the forefront of moving Delaware into the 21st century economy. We're going to do that by bringing private sector involvement into DEDO."
I'm with the governor on efforts to boost the economy. This is a far more acceptable strategy than increasing taxes again and again. 
Carney said the changes that must be made to balance the budget would require "shared sacrifices."
I will be pushing for more emphasis on reducing the size of government by continuing to look for ways to operate our programs more efficiently. 
As always, if you have any comments or suggestions, please contact my office at
Thank you,
Senator 21th District
New Legislative Aide
Meet Dawn Hopkins
Dawn Hopkins
Deanna Killen, who has served as my legislative aide since September 2015, has accepted a promotion to Deputy Chief of Staff for the Senate Republicans. I would say I will miss her, but in reality her new office in Legislative Hall is now closer to mine. She will be working closely with our chief of staff, David Burris.
My new aide is Dawn Hopkins, who comes over to the Senate from the House side. I feel very fortunate to have someone with her experience as my new aide. 
Dawn is a Sussex County native who has served the State of Delaware for over 20 years, most recently in the Delaware House of Representatives as a legislative aide. She received her undergraduate degree from the University of Delaware and has a Dual Master of Science in Management degree in Public Administration and Human Resources Management. 
Dawn resides in Milton with her husband of 30 years, John A. Hopkins III, and enjoys spending time with her two sons, daughter-in-law, and new granddaughter. Dawn and her husband are active in their community and their church (Crossroad Community Church), where they serve on the Praise Team, and John is a board member. 
As did Deanna, Dawn will also serve as legislative aide for Senator Gerald Hocker of Ocean View. 
Paving and Maintenance of Railroad Crossing Will Require the Closure of Neals School Road
Seaford: The Delaware Department of Transportation (DelDOT) announces to motorists that Delaware  Coast Line Railroad will be paving and performing general maintenance on their crossing on Neals School Road from SR 20/Stein Highway to Shufelt Road in Seaford.
The closure is scheduled to begin at 5 a.m. on Monday, April 17 until midnight on Friday, April 21, but could be delayed due to weather or other unforeseen circumstances.   
Detour Routes:
Northbound:  SR 20/Stein Highway from Neals School Road onto to Shufelt Road and return to Neals School Road.
Southbound:   Neals School Road to Shufelt Road onto SR 20/Stein Highway and back to Neals School Road 
$5.5 million for Strong Neighborhoods projects 
Funding to benefit Laurel Efforts
Front Street Park, Laurel
WILMINGTON - Nine projects statewide will receive $5.5 million from Delaware's Strong Neighborhoods Housing Fund to address vacant, abandoned or foreclosed properties, Governor John Carney announced recently.
The second round of the Strong Neighborhoods Housing Fund, funded by bank settlement money, will lead to about 100 new or rehabilitated housing units in Wilmington, New Castle County, Dover, Milford and Laurel. The investment of $5.5 million will leverage an estimated $15 million in private or other funding sources.
"These projects will be helping families and individuals who need housing, while strengthening the neighborhoods in which they are located, revitalizing properties that have fallen into disrepair and bringing people back to live in them," said DSHA Director Anas Ben Addi. 
The housing projects chosen for funding in this round, include:
Sussex County, $500,000
Legislation Co-sponsored by Sen. Richardson

There are many bills flying around Legislative Hall this time of year, some will become laws and some will never make it out of committee. While I am involved with several bills, here are two that could come up for a vote in the next few weeks. 
SB 61: An Act to Amend Title 29 of the Delaware Code Relating to the Joint Legislative Oversight and Sunset Committee.
This Act clarifies the authority of the Joint Legislative Oversight and Sunset Committee ("Committee") to hold over entities unless or until certain conditions are met or modifications are made. This Act also provides the authority for the Committee to recall an entity that has been released from review when the entity has the ability to meet the recommended condition or make the modification but has failed to do so, or when the Committee recommended legislation to amend an entity's governing statute or a related statute, but the legislation fails to be enacted for any reason. simply allows the JLOSC to recall an entity if the JLOSC finds out that entity has not met the conditions for its release. 
Note from Sen. Richardson: This allows the JLOSC to move on to other reviews without having a backlog of unresolved issues to deal with from those entities that were under review.
The bill lets the entity know that they are expected to follow through to completion the recommendations, or they will be be brought back for further scrutiny. And the JLOSC can then turn up the heat or perhaps even sunset the entity.
HB 70: An Act to Amend Title 14 of the Delaware Code Relating to Educational Requirements.
Under current educational standards, students are no longer required to be taught cursive writing and many schools have abandoned teaching cursive writing to students. As cursive writing is still an imperative skill in many professions, this bill makes teaching cursive writing a requirement for all public schools in Delaware.
For information on other bills I have signed on to, please go to 
Adult Education in Delaware: Senator Richardson spent time talking with representatives for adult education programs from around the state. Helping people with pathways to better lives is so important. He congratulated the students in attendance and thanked the teachers and program representatives for providing such needed services.