At the suggestion of the Chamber’s Young Professionals Group, the State Chamber will reconvene its Economic Development Committee early 2016. In the early 2000s, the committee was mothballed due to a quickly expanding Delaware economy. After the housing bust, the State Chamber’s policy efforts went into supporting policies to stabilize Delaware’s economy. Much has changed over the past few years and the time is right to put additional emphasis on economic development issues.
Mike Vanderslice, VP of Sales and Marketing for Environmental Alliance, will chair the committee and is part of the next generation of State Chamber leadership. The Committee membership will include younger executives as well as more seasoned leaders covering a diverse number of industries throughout the state.
The Committee’s mission will focus on expanding economic opportunity, an issue that’s important to all Delawareans. Internally, the Committee will engage other DSCC Committees such as Tax, Transportation & Infrastructure, Environmental and Employee Relations along with Board of Governors in developing and advancing the State Chamber’s economic development policy.
As part of the mission, the Committee will partner with DEDO, County and City Economic Development Offices, as well as local chambers to promote policies that support existing industries and foster a business climate that attracts new and innovative companies to Delaware.
The announcement last week that DuPont and Dow intend to formally enter merger discussions resonated throughout Delaware. Even though the merger has to go through the regulatory and shareholder approval process, which will take time, questions are quickly emerging as to what the merger will mean in terms of economic impact for Delaware. Separately announced by DuPont was a global restructuring plan that will result in a 10% reduction in global workforce, which is bound to impact the 7000 employees currently working in Delaware.
Taken together, these announcements create many questions about state finances as the calculations begin on what losses due to a diminished DuPont will mean to personal income tax, corporate income tax, gross receipts and property taxes throughout the state. Coupled with what could also be a reduction in philanthropic and nonprofit support, there may not be a person in Delaware who won’t feel the changes.
DuPont has been a Delaware institution for over 200 years, a fact that the average Delawarean can recite on command. The company history is so intertwined with Delaware’s there’s in some sense an impending loss of Delaware’s identity—what does Delaware look like without a sustained DuPont presence? As we seek answers to these questions, it’s important to know that the process to complete the merger and execute the spinoffs will take up to three years, and during that time the Chamber will be working closely with DuPont, state government and local business to examine all options to navigate whatever shifts in the economic base may be created. At the same time, there is potential that at least one or more of the spin-off companies could be located in the state. These would be fortune 500 companies with powerhouse brands that have market leadership and would be better positioned for growth and investment after the spins. The Chamber will work closely with DuPont and state officials to foster a business climate that will be attractive for the future spinoff companies to locate their headquarters in the state.
More than 400 guests, crowded into the Kennedy Caucus Room in the Russell Senate Office Building on Wednesday, December 9 for a chance to sample the best hospitality, food and drinks from some of Delaware’s top eateries at the 5th Annual Taste of Delaware celebration. Co-hosted by the Delaware State Chamber of Commerce and Senator Coons, the tradition brings together Delawareans and D.C. guests to enjoy the finest of the first state’s eats.
Taste of Delaware has humble beginnings to say the least. The first “unofficial” Taste of Delaware took place four years ago in a conference room just a week after Senator Coons took office. The gathering consisted of about 20 people enjoying a small sampling of Grotto Pizza, Capriotti’s sandwiches and Dogfish Head beer. Three years later, the event has gained a reputation among congressional staff and legislators as one of the can’t-miss events of the year.
The event is held annually as close to “Delaware Day” as possible. Since 1933, the governors of Delaware have proclaimed December 7 as Delaware Day in honor of that day in 1787 when Delaware became the first state to ratify the Federal Constitution, thus making Delaware the first state in the New Nation.
Senator Coons thanked guests and vendors for taking part in the event and encouraged those who enjoyed themselves to come to Delaware and explore more of the state’s culinary – and tax free – offerings.
“Who would have thought, just five years ago sitting around a conference room table at our first Taste of Delaware, that it would have grown to a celebration of this magnitude,” said Sen. Coons. “Looking around the room, and talking with the proud owners of these establishments, you can tell that these people love Delaware, love their customers, and really enjoy being part of the hospitality family in Delaware.”
Sen. Coons also remarked that the success of the event comes from the Delaware State Chamber of Commerce’s participation, coordination, and passion of the event.
“This event has become one of the Chamber favorites in the past five years,” said Delaware Chamber of Commerce President Rich Heffron. “We enjoy the partnership with Senator Coons’ office and staff, and it’s great to brag about Delaware offerings at the national level each year.”
Vendors from more than 20 restaurants, bakeries, breweries, and wineries from all corners of the state came to share their goods with D.C. guests, many of whom were Delaware transplants hungry for a taste of home.
In 2015 Nemours Children’s Health System celebrated the 75th anniversary of the first patient being admitted to the Alfred I. duPont Institute. In the decades since, Nemours has experienced many changes—from advances in medicine and technology, to the opening of two new hospitals and dozens of pediatric practices across the Delaware Valley and Florida.
When Alfred I. duPont died in 1935 he left his fortune for the care of children in Delaware and Florida. That fortune is the Alfred I. duPont Testamentary Trust, and the Nemours Foundation is the operating entity that brings the vision and mission to life every day. We are now the largest children’s health system in the United States, with more than 5,000 Associates and more than 600 physicians across five states providing the full range of pediatric medical and specialty care, prevention, research, advocacy and a number of other important services.
But one thing that has not changed over the past 75 years is our commitment to providing compassionate, high-quality, family-centered care to all children and families. By doing so we honor the legacy of our founder, Alfred I. duPont—a man of great compassion and a champion of equality among all men who believed “it is the duty of everyone in the world to do what is within his power to alleviate human suffering.” That belief has become embodied in the Nemours mission “to provide the leadership, institutions, and services not readily available to restore and improve the health of children.” That’s what our Associates strive for every day.
Nemours is proud to be the presenting sponsor for the Delaware State Chamber of Commerce’s 179th Annual Dinner and pleased that our President and Chief Executive Officer, Dr. David J. Bailey, will be the evening’s keynote speaker. This is an exciting time for Nemours, and I invite you to join me at Delaware’s premier business and networking event to learn more about Nemours and our commitment to helping the First State’s children grow up healthy.
As reported last week in the News Journal, Delaware recently received good news from FERC regarding the Artificial Island cost allocation proceedings. In response to the claims raised by the Delaware and Maryland Public Service Commissions (Docket EL15-95-000), regarding the cost allocation made by PJM as to who would pay for a new transmission line to be constructed between New Jersey and the Delmarva Peninsula, FERC determined that the cost allocation for Artificial Island filed by the PJM transmission owners may not be just and reasonable. FERC has therefore accepted the cost allocations but delayed implementation for 5 months (subject to refund if FERC denies the cost allocation) and established a technical conference with PJM to determine whether there is a certain category of reliability projects for which the solution-based DFAX may not be appropriate and whether another cost allocation method could be established for such projects. Paragraphs 34 and 35 of FERC’s order, below, are the most significant for Delaware. This is a fantastic initial order from FERC.
34. Our preliminary analysis indicates that the assignment of cost allocation for the proposed Tariff amendments in Docket No. ER 15-2562-000 Filing and Docket No. ER15-2563-000 have not been shown to be just and reasonable and may be unjust, unreasonable, or unduly discriminatory or preferential. Accordingly, we will accept the proposed Tariff revisions for filing, suspend them for five months, to become effective on April 25, 2016, or an earlier date set forth in a subsequent order, subject to refund, and the outcome of a technical conference in the complaint proceedings, Docket Nos. EL15-18-001, EL15-67-000, and EL15-95-000.
35. We direct staff to establish a technical conference to explore both whether there is a definable category of reliability projects within PJM for which the solution-based DFAX cost allocation method may not be just and reasonable, such as projects addressing reliability violations that are not related to flow on the planned transmission facility, and whether an alternative just and reasonable ex ante cost allocation method could be established for any such category of projects.
James DeChene is the Chamber's Senior Vice President of Government Affairs.