Don’t buy the corporate spin. ‘Budget smoothing’ means budget cuts.

The News Journal | Opinion | by Rep. John Kowalko The usual suspects of corporate propagandists are at it again, disingenuously arguing for budget cuts under the guise of revenue stabilization. House Bill 460, supported by these corporate lobbyists in an article published in the Sunday News Journal, is an attempt to pass a Grover Norquist conservative dream version of a “balanced budget amendment.” The proposed constitutional change would establish budgetary constraints to force the services and programs of the most vulnerable Delawareans onto the chopping block regardless of the […]

Listen to the public: Restore the Rodney Square bus hub

The News Journal | Delaware Voice | by Rep. John Kowalko & John Flaherty On Dec. 17, Delaware’s transit agency, DART, dismantled the bus hub at Rodney Square in Wilmington at the urging of Gov. John Carney. Removing a bus hub and the bus stops located there is an action that has never before been done across America, as far as we know. Many bus riders reacted with outrage when the proposal was announced. Now, DART passengers face daily disruption as they endure walking several city blocks to make their […]

Dwindling DNREC funds: Fewer fines or fewer polluters to blame?

The News Journal | by Maddy Lauria For more than a decade, a portion of fines levied against Delaware’s worst polluters has been returned to impacted communities through a state grant program that funds projects like the Valley Community Garden in Wilmington’s West Center City. But the fund that supports community gardens, parks, trails and other environmentally minded projects has been dwindling for years, leading to disappointing news for a handful of nonprofits aiming to improve neighborhoods that have been overburdened by pollution. “The applications totaled almost $198,000 and I […]

Bill would require legislature to allocate settlement funds

Delaware State News | by Matt Bittle DOVER — Legislation introduced Thursday, five days ahead of the General Assembly’s return from the annual February break, would prohibit any settlement funds from being allocated by anything less than the full legislature. The bipartisan measure, sponsored by Rep. John Kowalko, D-Newark, is in response to a 2016 allocation of bank settlement funds approved by the Joint Finance Committee on the recommendation of Attorney General Matt Denn. The Democratic-controlled committee agreed to spend the money on a plan to reduce foreclosures, fix up […]

School board approves landmark plan to consolidate five Wilmington schools

WHYY | by Cris Barrish A divided Christina school board gave guarded blessings Tuesday night to a plan by the Carney administration to consolidate five of the lowest-performing schools in the state — all of them in Wilmington. The board voted 4-2 with one abstention to close three struggling and under-used Wilmington elementary schools and expand two other schools into buildings serving Kindergartners through eighth graders. Approval of the Memorandum of Understanding with the state unveiled in November paves the way for Stubbs, Elbert-Palmer, and Pulaski schools to shut their […]

Board approves plan that will consolidate Wilmington schools

The News Journal | by Jessica Bies Plans to close two elementary schools in Wilmington will move forward now that the Christina Board of Education has approved a partnership agreement with Gov. John Carney and the state Education Department. Preliminary timelines call for Pulaski and Elbert-Palmer elementary schools to close after the 2018-19 school year. Bancroft Elementary and Bayard Middle schools will likely house grades 1 through 8, while kindergartners will move to what is currently Stubbs Elementary School. Stubbs is also the likely site of a dual-generation center, which […]

Christina approves Wilmington schools consolidation plan

WDEL | by Joe Irizarry Two Wilmington schools in the Christina School District will close, and the others will be repurposed allowing for two first to eighth grade schools in the city–one on the east side and another on the west side. The Christina School Board voted to approve the Memorandum of Understanding with the state, which means the closing of Pulaski and Elbert-Palmer elementary schools. Stubbs Elementary School will become a Dual Generation Center, which will house Kindergarten, Pre-K, and other services. “This board and our district hasn’t engaged […]

Delmarva Power lowers rate increase request by $26 million as result of corporate tax cuts

The News Journal | by Karl Baker Tax cuts passed by Congress in December have effectively caused Delmarva Power to reduce its power rate increase request in Delaware by $26 million, the company announced on Friday. After Congress slashed corporate tax rates from 35 percent to 21 percent, state regulators in January directed public utility companies, such as Delmarva Power, to calculate their total amount of savings “to ensure that consumers will receive the benefits.” The move came at the behest of Delaware Public Advocate Drew Slater and state legislators […]

Delmarva Power slashes rate hike request after tax breaks pass

Delaware Public Media | by Sarah Mueller Delmarva Power said it’s dropping its rate hike request by $26 million because of federal corporate tax breaks. The move comes after the state’s Public Advocate Drew Slater successfully petitioned to have utility companies pass the savings on to consumers. Delmarva is now asking for a $17 million rate increase, down from last fall’s ask of about $43 million. It’s currently the only rate increase request before state regulators. Delmarva officials said the drop in its rate hike request means customers can expect […]

Delaware lawmaker proposes new upper income tax brackets

WDEL | by Mark Fowser Creation of two new upper income tax brackets is being proposed as a way to create long term revenue stability for the State of Delaware, instead of depending upon one-time revenues. A state House committee Wednesday voted to release legislation that would tax individual filers who make $125,000 at 7.1 percent. Delawareans who earn $250,000 would face an income tax rate of 7.85 percent. The current rate is 6.6 percent for someone who earns $60,000 or more of taxable income. State Representative John Kowalko, D-25th, […]