by James DeChene
For those of you able to attend the 179th State Chamber of Commerce Annual Dinner, thank you. As attendees will recall, the message from the Chamber to business leaders and elected officials was a call to come together and collaborate on effective solutions to help turn Delaware’s economy around. Making mention of a time in Delaware’s history not so long ago, the late 1970’s and early 1980’s, Delaware was facing a similar bleak economic outlook. Lead, in part, by the efforts of the 2016 Josiah Marvel cup winner, Frank Biondi, the General Assembly passed the Financial Center Development Act, which placed Delaware on stable financial footing for much of the 1990’s and into the 2000’s. The subsequent increases in banking and financial service employees offset the decline in Delaware manufacturing over the years, to the point that without those employee numbers Delaware economically would be like West Virginia with a beach.
As we honored Biondi and his good works, parallels were drawn between that time and now, and the need for a General Assembly to put aside its political differences and make the difficult choices necessary to reshape and redirect Delaware’s economy. To that end, we have a good start to the second half of the 148th legislative session, as bipartisan legislation has been crafted to increase Delaware’s competiveness regionally and nationally incentivizing companies to increase their investments in personnel and infrastructure in Delaware.
This bill is a good first step. The “collaboration, time is now” message will be the Chamber’s clarion call this year urging regulatory and legislative initiatives that result in aggressive pro-growth, pro-economic development measures Delaware desperately needs.
James DeChene is the Chamber's Senior Vice President of Government Affairs.