Legislators returned to Dover this week. Among items passed, the General Assembly included extending reporting deadlines for the Taskforces on the Legalization of Recreational Marijuana and on School Redistricting. Expect reports to come later in the session.
Also passed this week was a bill creating a committee dedicated solely with how Grant in Aid funding will be administered in the future. Calling for the establishment of a review process, and creating metrics to measure success, the committee will work in conjunction, but separately from JFC to distribute Grant in Aid. Next week will be Governor Carney’s State of the State Address on January 18.
The General Assembly returns next Tuesday with a full plate. Work will commence stemming from taskforces that met over the summer and fall, which include school district redistricting and changes in funding models, and the legalization of recreational marijuana. Thrown into the mix will be legislation to raise money to invest in clean water infrastructure, incentivize angel investors to provide capital to small startups in Delaware, and the fight on minimum wage legislation will no doubt continue. These bills, and ones to come, will be the focus of the Chamber this legislative session, along with continuing to implement legislation passed last year—namely the Delaware Prosperity Partnership and the regulations surrounding modernizing the Coastal Zone Act.
In addition, the Chamber will be involved in ongoing budget discussions as the Administration and General Assembly continue to search for ways to address Delaware’s long term economic growth and sustainability. What will be interesting to see this year, is how the Federal tax plan will impact Delaware. Much of what was contained at the Federal level was proposed at the end of last year’s session to help fill a $350 million budget gap, including increasing the standard deduction, reducing itemized deductions, and modifying personal income tax bracket levels. If the projections the state Department of Finance provided last year hold true, that could mean big money for Delaware coffers, and reduce the chances for last minute budget battles this year.
All this, and more, to come. Stay tuned.
The Delaware State Chamber of Commerce is partnering with the Federal Reserve on a Small Business Credit Survey for both pre-start and existing businesses, and we’d like you to participate. Your answers will help business service providers and lenders understand real-time business conditions. This short survey takes less than 9 minutes to complete. Individual responses are confidential and summary results will be shared with you.
Take the survey today!
Questions? Contact SmallBusinessResearch@atl.frb.org.
If you have problems with the link above, copy and paste the following URL into a new browser window:
Manufacturing Matters: Edgewell Personal Care Bolsters Local Manufacturing, Creates 140 Jobs in Dover
On December 7, Edgewell Personal Care, parent company of leading global personal care brands in the shave, feminine care, sun care, skin care and infant markets, joined colleagues, local officials, community leaders and Walmart representatives to recognize Edgewell’s commitment to local manufacturing and job creation. Edgewell recently completed the consolidation of its North American Feminine Care production at the company’s manufacturing facility in Dover, Del, resulting in 140 new jobs. Additionally, the company celebrated Walmart’s 10-year commitment to buy an additional $250 billion in products supporting American jobs by 2023.
“Within all of Edgewell’s manufacturing sites, we know that operating with passion, integrity and respect ultimately provides the best products and experience for our customers and consumers,” said Chris Crowell, vice president, Edgewell global operations. “As we strive to produce products that enhance the well-being of our consumers, it’s equally important that we manufacture these products as close to our customers as possible so we may respond quickly to their needs. This consolidation in Dover is an important step in positioning Edgewell to meet the requirements of our U.S. shoppers.”
Based on data from Boston Consulting Group, it’s estimated that one million new U.S. jobs will be created through Walmart’s initiative, including direct manufacturing job growth of approximately 250,000, and indirect job growth of approximately 750,000 in the support and service sectors.
“Our customers have told us that second to price, where products are made influences their purchase decisions,” said Cindi Marsiglio, Walmart’s vice president of U.S. manufacturing. “We are focused on buying great quality products that create jobs in communities across the U.S. It makes sense for our customers, our communities and our company.”
For more information about Edgewell Personal Care and its portfolio of leading personal care brands, please visit www.edgewell.com.
Earlier this fall, the Delaware State Chamber of Commerce membership participated in a survey on their view of Delaware’s economy, key issues, and polices impacting business growth. The survey results will play a key role in the Chamber’s 2018 issue and advocacy strategy, including a continued focus on creating a successful environment for small businesses. We are listening to you as we build our advocacy agenda for 2018, which will include your top policy priorities:
As we build on the successes of 2017, your continued engagement is vital to advancing a prosperous business climate and attracting new enterprises to the state.
A special thank you to members who took the survey.
Please take a few minutes to review the survey results by clicking here.
Maybe it’s a continuation of my turkey coma, but I saw a lot of positive things happening this week in and around Delaware you may have missed. Chamber member, and Taste of Delaware participant, Waggies by Maggie & Friends, a Wilmington nonprofit dog treat company that employs people with intellectual disabilities, has won the $10,000 grand prize in M&T Bank’s first Understanding What’s Important Business Challenge. Maggie’s has been a great friend of the Chamber, and everyone here is so pleased at their award. Congrats!
The announcement of a sports arena to be built by the Riverfront, with a connecting bridge to area attractions like Iron Hill and Frawley Stadium, is huge for Wilmington. Above and beyond what it can bring for economic development, it’s a major quality of life project for an area of the City that desperately needs one. Kudos to Governor Carney, Mayor Purzycki, and BPG for working together to bring this project to Delaware.
Speaking of Governor Carney, you may have read about the release, a bit early, of his Wilmington schools plan. While the plan will undergo a number of changes, what struck me was the Governor taking the time to visit residents of Wilmington in person, urging them to participate in the process and to educate them about what his plan will mean for Wilmington kids and families. Door knocking can be hard, and at times even unpleasant, but it’s also one of the best ways to sell your message. Color me impressed.
Lest you think I’ve lost my Grinch-esque ways, let me end by saying we’re following chatter that there’s an effort afoot to build support in order to increase Delaware’s Renewable Portfolio Standard to 50%, with an 8% carve out for solar generation. Currently, Delaware’s Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS) are established by the Renewable Energy Portfolio Standards Act (REPSA), which provides that utilities procure an increasing percentage of their electricity from renewable resources, leading up to 25% of energy derived from renewable sources by 2025. Obviously we’ll be watching this closely.
November 1 began open enrollment for the Health Insurance Marketplace. Whether you’re uninsured and looking to find coverage, or would like to explore the available options, you can use the Marketplace to find coverage that works for you. The open enrollment period is shorter this year than in the past and the final deadline for enrollment is December 15th. Don’t miss your chance to get covered!
During the open enrollment period, you can visit www.HealthCare.gov to create an account and find coverage that works with your budget and meets your needs. You can also see what financial help you may qualify for. If you have Marketplace coverage currently, you have the opportunity to review your application to ensure it’s up to date and report any life changes.
Quality coverage is more affordable than you may think. Last year, 8 in 10 people qualified for financial help – for most people, that meant they could find premiums from $50 to $100 a month. The Marketplace and expansion of the Medicaid program helped cut the U.S. uninsured rate down to a historic 8.8 percent. We can continue this progress by getting even more Americans covered, which also helps lower health coverage costs.
There is no need to worry about paying for sudden medical emergencies. Find a policy that brings you and your family peace of mind, and will provide no-cost preventative care. Before the Marketplace, high medical bills were the leading cause of personal bankruptcies. Now, you can be prepared for routine, preventative, and unexpected medical costs.
If you have any questions about signing up, or want to talk to a trained Marketplace navigator, free help is just a call or click away. To apply and enroll quickly online, visit www.HealthCare.gov, or call the Marketplace call center 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 1-800-318-2596. A representative will be able to assist you in the enrollment process as well as to answer any questions you may have. There are also trained representatives you can speak with in person if you have questions.
Visit www.Localhelp.HealthCare.gov to find a representative near you.
Congresswoman Lisa Blunt Rochester
The State of Delaware Division of Revenue is looking to engage taxpayers and tax accountants in an effort to help review the state’s electronic filing options, presentation of these options, and overall ease of access to the systems. The state will be conducting a survey incorporating opinion questions geared at addressing these issues. In addition, the state would like to conduct a focus group with a select number of constituents to further explore the user experience when it comes to the state’s electronic options.
Ideally, the state would like to engage self-preparers and self-filers as they would be the most likely group to utilize all of the state’s first party filing options. The background of these self-preparers/filers does not necessarily need to be limited to any specific subgroup; we are more or less looking for a wide variety of people from diverse business backgrounds.
The focus of this exercise will be to review the state’s License Renewal, Online ACH Debit Payment System for Corporate Tentative Tax/Withholding Tax, and Online Gross Receipts Tax System.
The Delaware Prosperity Partnership (DPP) held its first board meeting on October 20, 2017, at the new CSC® global headquarters in Wilmington. A 501c3 partnership created by legislation and signed into law by Governor Carney this past summer, the DPP combines the resources of the private sector and government to further economic growth in The First State. The board is co-chaired by Governor Carney and Rod Ward, CEO of CSC. John Riley was elected by the board as Interim CEO of the DPP, and a temporary office has been set up at One Commerce Center in Wilmington. John will focus on launching the initiative and recruiting a permanent CEO through a national search process. As the state’s primary resource for recruiting new business to Delaware, John will also work with the Delaware Office of Small Business, Development and Tourism under Cerron Cade’s direction to ensure a smooth transition of current projects and new opportunities.
As plans were being made to launch the DPP, the Amazon HQ2 project was announced. While the state government took the lead in responding to the proposal, it presented the opportunity to bring in people and resources from the private sector to support the project, and to closely examine Delaware’s location and workforce advantages, not just for Amazon, but for other prospects going forward. One of the exciting digital marketing tools that came out of the project was the “Options in Delaware” video. As you can see, while it was developed as part of the Amazon response, it is a great representation of Delaware, and suitable for use in other ways, including recruiting talent to the state.
In addition to setting up an office, the DPP has launched an initial website, deprosperitypartnership.com, that includes basic information about the partnership and Delaware. In the coming weeks the site will be populated with additional information and ultimately become a resource for current Delaware businesses, as well as for those outside the state looking for a great place to expand or relocate.
James DeChene is the Chamber's Senior Vice President of Government Affairs.