By Rich Heffron
The recent study commissioned by the Delaware Business Roundtable (DBRT), of which the Delaware State Chamber of Commerce (DSCC) is a long-time member, is consistent with the DSCC’s message over the past year that Delaware’s current revenue structure is not sustainable.
If the state’s economy is to be turned around, it is time for the General Assembly and the Administration to make the difficult budget decisions that have been postponed for years. The problems we are facing continue to grow exponentially. For example, last year the State Chamber supported the Governor’s proposal to have state employees contribute more towards their health care costs consistent with what has been necessary in the private sector. Furthermore, there are other reports including the report issued by the DEFAC Advisory Council on Revenues issued earlier this year that make it clear the state must realign Delaware’s revenue collection process if there is to be any hope of matching revenue with spending. This is problematic considering anticipated future state spending driven by a variety of demands including Medicaid costs and state pension obligations, among others.
The DBRT and its members are not offering “free advice” but have carefully commissioned and paid for a needed review of our fiscal situation. The Roundtable, the State Chamber, their members and their employees provide hundreds of millions of dollars in taxes and fees to the state as well as thousands of volunteer hours. This is the engine that drives Delaware’s economy. The Roundtable and the State Chamber were part of the coalition to keep GM and Chrysler in Delaware. Our members have suffered the consequences of those plants closing.
DSCC President Rich Heffron says, “As the State Chamber has repeated, we are not interested in planting stakes in the ground or pointing fingers. We are only interested in solving problems. Any comprehensive solution must be bipartisan in nature. We look forward to participating in any solution to find sustainable revenue sources and position the Delaware economy to move forward.”
James DeChene is the Chamber's Senior Vice President of Government Affairs.