Closed door manipulations betray the public trust

Once again, our Governor and his staff have decided to conduct business involving Delaware taxpayers’ money behind closed doors. This all too common practice should and must be challenged and stopped. This particular secret land deal is being consummated without any consultation with the entire General Assembly and instead is being slipped into the Bond Bill, which is voted on in the waning hours of the session at the end of June. Further compounding the lack of transparency is a significant perception of favoritism. The prospective purchaser of the property […]

Kowalko: Hey, UD president: Not so fast with the stats, bud

The News Journal | Guest Column | by Rep. John Kowalko It is a fact that the University of Delaware is a premier secondary educational institution in Delaware. It is also a fact that total student enrollment has been growing steadily while the percentage of Delaware resident students has declined significantly. Receiving over $120 million in taxpayer monies each year should allow UD to provide more access and outreach to in-state students. Instead Delaware taxpayers and families are presented with statistical data by President Assanis that is purported to be […]

Inspector General would expose corruption in Delaware

I am challenging all of my colleagues in Dover to join me in reforming Delaware’s lawmaking process. I am asking them to join me in supporting rule changes that disallow last minute votes on bills that have not been adequately vetted. I am asking them to support rule changes that disallow the use of “suspension of rules” to bring bills to the floor that have not been vetted by a committee or the general public. I ask them to pass legislation that will create an independent Office of Inspector General […]

DE Turf bill exposes Dover’s failures

Congratulations to News Journal reporter Sarah Gamard on her insightful article, “Why the DE Turf Vote Has Some Lawmakers Second Guessing,” regarding the passage of Senate Substitute 2 for Senate Bill 178 on June 30, 2019, the final day of the legislative session. Her reporting has exposed some of the major flaws in the workings of Delaware’s General Assembly. One major concern is the fact that the legislation was presented as an economic development driver without any data to support the alleged success of the proposed venture. Secondly, the direct […]

Kowalko: State should have been tougher on asbestos contractor

The News Journal | Opinion | by Rep. John Kowalko More than four months after I joined residents, workers, and local union officials in calling for an investigation into the asbestos removal project at the former Boxwood GM site, DNREC has chosen to levy a negligible fine against EcoServices Inc. for its asbestos removal malpractices. As an asbestosis victim who suffers from the condition of asbestos exposure, I felt a significant personal stake in protecting the workers, their families, and the residents in the area from the consequences of improper […]

Commentary: Putting special interest over Delaware families

Delaware State News | Opinion | by Rep. John Kowalko The American Chemistry Council is the well-funded and highly influential (with members of both parties in Delaware) special interest that has flown in professionals (hacks) from as far away as California to keep my bills banning flame retardants from mattresses and children’s products bottled up in committee twice in the last few years. Joined by all of the Republicans on the two committees (that it was assigned to in recent sessions) a key Democratic member of both committees who serves […]

Delaware school funding needs financial oversight

In a blatant disregard for fiscal responsibility and Delaware law, for almost a decade, the Joint Finance Committee has inserted language into the annual budget bill to remove oversight and protections from the use of taxpayer money to fund charter schools. One charter school that is under investigation for financial mismanagement has received millions in unaccountable funding, including over $750,000 in the past year. I have consistently opposed this use of taxpayer money with no accountability or understanding for how it is spent. This year, I filed an amendment to […]

Christina School Board election on April 14

This Tuesday, May 14, there is a very important election scheduled for a Christina School Board position. John Young is an extremely intelligent and dedicated advocate for public school children, educators and families. He has consistently shown the willingness and courage to confront the mercenary corporate reformists who are causing irreparable damage to Delaware public schools. He has used his experience, intellect, and work ethic to allow the public to see the intimate details and harmful effects of Standardized Testing, Common Core curricula, the dismantling of neighborhood schools, and the […]

Undo the Republican extortion over minimum wage

The minimum wage protects the poorest of the poor working people. Last year, the Republicans in the House took the state budget hostage in order to create alternative categories to undermine a minimum wage increase. Any elected Democrat who chooses to deliberately ignore the plight of those who are struggling to make ends meet under the false pretense that the Republicans are again threatening to hold up legislation such as the Bond or Grant-in-Aid bills should consider changing their registration or resigning from office. Any elected leader of the Democratic Party […]

Economic stability requires progressive tax structure

With the start of the new legislative session last week, we must take concrete steps to avoid the last minute budget scramble in June. Delaware needs to improve the long-term stability of its revenue streams by creating two new personal income brackets. HB 14 and HB 15 would create brackets applicable to Delaware taxable income in excess of $125,000 and in excess of $250,000. Currently, our highest bracket is rate is $60,000, and income over that $60,000 is taxed at 6.6% (income below and up to the $60,000 is taxed between […]