Bill would let school districts raise taxes with no referendum

Delaware State News | by Matt Bittle DOVER — Draft legislation in the General Assembly would let school districts raise property taxes without referendums. The bill, which has not yet been assigned a number, would enable school boards to increase taxes every two years by the percentage change in the federal Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers or by 3 percent. Such tax hikes could only be used to pay for operational costs and not construction. The measure, sponsored by Rep. Earl Jaques, D-Glasgow, is sure […]

Wilmington kids left out in bill that expands Newark Charter preference zone

Newsworks | by Cris Barrish For the 16 years Newark Charter School has been in existence, the high-performing institution has given preference to students who live within five miles of the campus. Using that formula the school has grown and thrived, and this year became a National Blue Ribbon School for the second time. It’s now Delaware’s biggest public school, with 2,330 students from kindergarten through 12th grade. Another 3,000 are on its waiting list. Yet as the school has flourished, discontent has grown among families, politicians and other critics that […]

Legislation would be ripoff for utility customers

The News Journal | Opinion | by Alan Muller As Delaware reaches the peak of its political season, there’s no more powerful example of the prevailing special interest chokehold than Senate Bill 80 (now replaced with the nearly identical Senate Substitute 1). This bill would create a new line item charge (“distribution system improvement charge”) on Delmarva Power electric and gas bills, without meaningful opportunities for public review of the additional charges. Total charges without a “rate case” could amount to $24 million. In some respects this proposal resembles the undying “Bloomgate” […]

Kowalko: Estate tax repeal victimizes needy Delawareans

The News Journal | Opinion | by Rep. John Kowalko In a decision that I can only interpret as a betrayal of the core principles and ideals of any self-respecting Democrat, 10 members of Delaware’s Democratic Party House caucus joined the entire Republican House caucus and voted to pass HB 16. The piece of legislation, introduced by Representative Mike Ramone and co-sponsored exclusively by Republicans, would effectively repeal Delaware’s Estate Tax with a significant and permanent loss of revenue. In 2016 the estate tax brought in $9.3 million of needed revenue […]

Delaware charter school enrollment legislation generates request for legal opinion

WDEL | by Mark Fowser Three Delaware lawmakers – with the backing of the President of the NAACP Delaware State Conference – are seeking a legal opinion on legislation that addresses the enrollment process of charter schools. A house substitute for a bill that passed last Thursday in the House of Representatives would allow charter schools to give preference for students in a portion of a school district that’s geographically contiguous to the charter school. It would eliminate the five-mile radius preference charter schools had been granted. Critics say the […]

Delaware House passes charter school rules change

Delaware Public Media | by James Dawson Charter schools may soon no longer be able to use a five-mile radius surrounding the location as a screening tool for their student body. Instead, a charter would be able to use the school district in which it resides as an enrollment preference. But the bill explicitly excludes the part of the Christina School District within the city of Wilmington, which critics say lets Newark Charter continue to duck enrolling poor, minority students. Rep. Stephanie T. Bolden (D-Wilmington East) called it simply discriminatory during […]

Gov. Carney’s plan would eliminate Delaware Economic Development Office

Delaware Public Media | by James Dawson Gov. John Carney is ready to hand Delaware’s Economic Development Office a pink slip. Carney’s proposal would trade in parts of the 36-year-old DEDO for a public-private partnership. It would be made up of a 15-member board filled with business leaders, nonprofit heads and university researchers. “The heart of it is going to be in an innovation, entrepreneurial, startup economy so we need a more entrepreneurial approach to compete, in my view, and in the view of a lot of the business leaders in […]

Budget battle heats up for lawmakers

Delaware State News | by Matt Bittle DOVER — With 47 days left before the fiscal year ends, the General Assembly still has a way to go to erase a gap of nearly $400 million between projected revenue and spending. Lawmakers recently took another step toward solving the problem by introducing legislation raising the corporate franchise tax, but the legislature still has hurdles to overcome before it can balance the budget. The franchise tax measure, which has bipartisan support, is a key part of Gov. John Carney’s budget proposal, bringing […]

Delaware marijuana legalization bill approved by committee

Newsworks | by Zoë Read Delaware took another step toward becoming the ninth state to approve recreational marijuana up to an ounce for those over 21. The General Assembly’s House Revenue and Finance Committee voted 10-2 Wednesday to release legislation to legalize recreational cannabis. However, it could take much longer to get a full House vote, as the bill’s sponsors work to improve the legislation over the next several weeks. “I want to get as many people at the table so we’re not going back and piece-mealing changes to the […]

Delaware House votes in favor of death penalty

Newsworks | by Zoë Read Delaware is on its way to restoring the death penalty after the state’s high court ruled it unconstitutional last year. The House voted 24-16 Tuesday to reinstate capital punishment. The legislation must now pass in the Senate before it hits Gov. John Carney’s desk. Last year, Delaware’s Supreme Court declared the death penalty unconstitutional because it leaves the final sentencing decision to a judge and not a jury. The measure sponsored by Rep. Steve Smyk, R-Milton, calls for a unanimous jury decision, and a judge’s […]