Democratic lawmakers push bill to create 2 new top income tax brackets

Delaware State News | by Matt Bittle DOVER — A House panel released to the full chamber Wednesday legislation that would create two new top tax brackets. Currently, all income above $60,000 is taxed at 6.6 percent. House Bill 15 would tax personal income of between $125,000 and $250,001 at 7.1 percent and above $250,000 at 7.85 percent. As of 2018, 16 states had a top tax bracket that exceeded $60,000, according to the Tax Foundation. The bill is the latest effort by Rep. John Kowalko, D-Newark, and other Democrats […]

Legislation introduced to limit LLC votes in Newark elections

Delaware Public Media | by Sarah Mueller Agents of multiple Limited Liability Companies may soon be limited to just one vote in the city of Newark. As the city’s charter is currently written, each LLC owning property in Newark is legally allowed to cast a vote. People can vote as a resident and as a representative of an LLC. That’s how last June, an agent of 31 LLCs was able to vote 31 times. The property manager owned 31 parcels of land in the city. But under legislation sponsored by […]

Council approves controversial seven-story Main Street hotel

Newark Post | by Josh Shannon City council on Monday approved a controversial hotel project, paving the way for Lang Development Group to construct a seven-story structure that likely will be the tallest building on Main Street. Council voted 5-2 in favor of the proposal, which includes 144 hotel rooms, a restaurant, 19,500 square feet of office space and a parking garage at 96 E. Main St., across from the Academy Street intersection. Several of the council members who voted in favor of the plan said they understood the concerns […]

Newark asks state to eliminate LLC voting rights from city charter

Newark Post | by Josh Shannon Newark is one step closer to eliminating a provision in the city’s charter that allowed a developer to vote 31 times in last year’s referendum. City council on Monday voted unanimously to ask the state legislature to amend Newark’s charter to change the voting requirements for a referendum. The controversy traces back to the June 19 referendum in which voters gave the city permission to borrow $27.6 million for the Rodney stormwater pond/park and other capital projects. In Newark’s first referendum since 2001, the […]

Only person with ‘heartbeat,’ not companies, should vote in Newark elections, council says

The News Journal | by Karl Baker If you don’t have a heartbeat, you shouldn’t be able to vote in a Newark election, the city council unanimously agreed Monday. A resolution passed during its meeting aims to limit voting in local referendums to “every natural person” – the latest in a Delaware backlash against limited liability companies participating in the electoral process. The proposal approved Monday night officially asks the General Assembly for approval to change the city’s governing charter to add a clause. “What is the definition of a […]

Public Service Commission approves additional rate reductions

Sussex Countian | by Submitted News The Delaware Public Service Commission on Jan. 31 approved an overall rate reduction for regulated utilities related to the overcollection of federal corporate taxes due to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017. In 2018, the Public Service Commission approved an overall rate reduction for Delmarva Power electric and natural gas customers, which is already in effect. Federal tax savings realized by additional Delaware regulated utilities will be passed on to residential customers in the following average dollar amounts per billing cycle: Artesian […]

Kowalko: No compromise was ever made

Delaware State News | Letter to the Editor | by Rep. John Kowalko Recently, Rep. Kim Williams and I introduced a bill (HB47) that would repeal the training and youth wages. These exemptions were created last year as part of a scheme that would hold hostage the passage of the Capital Bond bill. That scheme was initiated because the Republicans claimed to be upset that the General Assembly was going to pass a minimum wage increase on the last day of the session even though the original minimum wage bill […]

Lawmaker revives call for Inspector General

Delaware Public Media | by Joe Irizarry A House Democrat wants the First State to have an independent Inspector General. State Rep. John Kowalko (D-Newark South) plans to introduce legislation to creat that position. Kowalko supported a similar bill in 2007. That passed the House, but it didn’t make out of committee in the Senate. Kowalko says if created, the position would oversee state run agencies. “So we can have an oversight of the mechanics of agencies and all the different offices in Delaware,” said Kowalko. Kowalko adds the position […]

First State lawmakers return to work with wide-ranging priorities

Delaware Public Media | by Joe Irizarry As lawmakers return to Dover, Democrats and Republicans have set their priorities for the legislative session. Bills seeking to prevent gun violence are on the minds of legislators on both sides of the aisle. Senate bills to ban certain assault-style weapons, restrict high-capacity magazines, and create a permit system to buy firearms never reached the floor last year. State Rep. John Kowalko (D-South Newark) is among the Democrats who wants them voted on. “All of these bills are good legitimate bills that have […]

State lawmakers dismiss ethics concerns raised by open government advocates

Delaware Public Media | by Sarah Mueller A former state lawmaker’s new business venture is raising ethical questions about legislators’ conflicts of interest. Former State Rep. Melanie George Smith is being criticized after seeming to directly benefit from sustainability legislation she sponsored last year. George Smith set up a consulting firm to help businesses take advantage of her bill shortly before leaving office. State Rep. John Kowalko was one of a handful of legislators that did not vote for the bill—and says he’s considering trying to repeal it. He argues […]