Kowalko: General Assembly ignores alternatives for Delaware

Delaware State News | Letter to the Editor | by Rep. John Kowalko

Some of Friday’s House activity needs further explanation and clarification.

There have been excuses made, and aspersions cast. I will not attempt to justify or excuse the failures of the entire General Assembly, its leadership and the governor throughout this self-created crisis.

However, I do think that the public and all Delawareans deserve to be made aware of all of the options available to our elected officials and how we abdicated and continue to abdicate our responsibilities by not putting all alternatives into consideration.

In the matter of HB 240, the personal income tax bill that failed to pass in the House by the narrowest of margins, one of my amendments, supported by Kimberly Williams and others of my ilk, would have capped the itemized deductions at a $20,000 total thereby trading for some additional revenue from the wealthier but it was defeated by Republicans and some of my Dem. colleagues.

In addition, both HB 107 and HB 109 (out of committee and wasting away on the “ready” list) have a phase out of itemized deductions starting at the $125,000 individual taxable income level and completed at the $250,000 individual level while allowing current itemized deductions to be used by those lesser income levels if they so choose. Apparently not acceptable to some of my own caucus members, leadership and Gov. Carney.

Of course we will never know since my (and many other caucus members) numerous pleas and formal requests to place the bills on the agenda for a full House vote have gone unheeded and been rejected multiple times.

We have the sufficient 25-vote (three-fifths margin required) in our caucus and if either were brought to the floor for what would be a successful vote, I guess the naysayers (Democrats?) would be forced to choose a clearly defined side.

I also implored leadership and the governor to put the Grant-in Aid bill back into consideration with HB 101 (the LLC license fee increase raising $21.5 million or with the amendment $43 million) attached to provide the necessary funding required to offset the $37 million in Grant-in-Aid cuts in Rep. Smith’s budget proposal.

That idea was also dismissed because of outspoken opposition by a very few (three?) Democratic caucus members whose self-interests seem to obscure our obligations to provide necessary services to the poor, middle-class, disabled and all Delaware residents.

Rep. John Kowalko

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