Delaware Economic and Financial Advisory Council (DEFAC) cuts official state revenue forecast
by Mark DiMaio
Delaware’s projected state revenues have deceased by an additional $26 million over DEFAC’s September 2016 revenue forecast. DEFAC now projects that state revenues for the 2017-2018 fiscal year will be about $200 million dollars less than the current 2016-2017 fiscal year. The decreased revenue projection to $3.9 billion equals about 5% less than the $4.1 billion being spent during the State’s current fiscal year. In addition to the decrease in projected revenues, the cost of state government is projected to increase by $150 million dollars with Medicaid spending, state employee health care costs and increased school enrollment driving the escalation in state spending.
The DEFAC report points to flat revenue growth for upcoming fiscal years, which could lead to an annual cycle of seeking revenue enhancements. Even if Delaware can successfully restructure its future revenue portfolio, state spending could outpace new revenues. Delaware’s murky fiscal picture has been static for the past several years, with many elected officials focused solely on generating and increasing revenues to the state. If Delaware has finally reached a fiscal crossroads, maybe it’s time to take a serious look at state spending. The old playbook of raising corporate franchise taxes, raising gross receipts taxes and many other fees may not be sustainable. At some point, companies that incorporate here may seek out other states or nations for incorporation. The sky isn’t falling but sticking to the same formula of increasing revenues without serious consideration of reducing state spending will not be viable in the long term.
Release of America’s Health Rankings
by James DeChene
Earlier today (December 15, 2016) United Health Foundation released the 27th America’s Health Rankings Annual Report. As the longest-running annual assessment of the nation’s health on a state-by-state basis, the report showcases positive trends in the health of the nation, as well as concerning upticks in several key indicators.
Among the report’s findings:
Also of note, is that Delaware ranks 47th in the number of dentists per capita and 17th in the number of primary care physicians. Recently the debate over DIMER/DIDER funding has reemerged as an important budget issue for the state. DIMER/DIDER reserve slots for Delaware applicants only at Sidney Kimmel Medical College, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, and the Maurice H. Kornberg School of Dentistry at Temple. Delaware applicants only compete against other Delaware applicants for admission to reserve slots – not against the universe of applicants. For example, at SKMC, Delawareans have a 1 in 4 chance of being admitted to their reserved slots. The odds for applicants from any other state being admitted are approximately 1 in 40.
Please refer to the America’s Health Rankings website for additional information.
The 6th Annual Taste of Delaware, held fittingly on Delaware Day in Washington, D.C., featured more attendees than ever, with food and beverages from around the state on display. The event, hosted by the State Chamber along with honorary host US Senator Chris Coons, highlights Delaware companies, like Dogfish Head, Painted Stave Distillery, SoDel Concepts and Sea Watch, along with culinary students studying at Delaware Technical Community College and Delcastle Technical High School. With over 600 attendees this year and 25 featured vendors, the annual Taste of Delaware is an opportunity for DC insiders to mix with Delawareans and bond over what Delaware has to offer.
This year, cameo appearances were made by Senators Carper, Coons and Durbin (IL), Congressman and Governor-elect Carney, and Blue Rocks mascots Rocky and Mr. Celery. Most notably, a special visit was made by Vice President Biden, coming from his earlier tribute event held on the Senate floor. The VP spoke for 15 minutes covering a range of topics—thanking Delawareans for supporting him when he needed it most following the passing of his first wife, and later his son Beau; reflections on his start in politics; the challenges the US and the world has faced during his career; and a call for Democrats and Republicans to come together, in the Delaware Way, to help support the new administration.
The State Chamber would like to thank the vendors for their participation. We would also like to thank everyone who made the trip to Washington from Delaware, who help make this event successful. Finally, we would like the recognize and thank Senator Coons and his staff, both in Delaware and in D.C., for their help in planning and day-of help in ensuring this year was the best event yet. Until next year.
by Mark DiMaio
On Monday November 28th, Delaware Technical Community College, Delmarva Power and Exelon hosted a “Partnerships for Pathways” event at DelTech’s Sustainable Energy Training Center (Stanton Campus). The event featured guest speakers Governor Jack Markell, Governor-elect John Carney and Exelon’s David Velazquez. Gary Stockbridge, President, Delmarva Power moderated a panel discussion highlighting the Pathways to Prosperity program’s newest education tract – the energy efficiency pathway. The new pathway provides Delaware high school students the opportunity to learn competencies and skills to succeed in the expanding energy efficiency industry. Students enrolled in the energy efficiency pathway will learn terminology and concepts in the classroom. A key component of the training is applying learned concepts and this spring, students will gain hands on experience at Delaware Technical Community College’s energy laboratories. Delmarva Power provided a $720,000 donation to partially fund the new energy efficiency pathway.
The new pathway will help fill the local demand for jobs in energy efficiency industry. During the panel discussion, David Small, Secretary of Delaware Natural Resources and Environmental Control, stated that 250 sector jobs could be created the next few years. The Delaware Pathways to Prosperity program now offers 12 career training programs, including culinary arts, manufacturing, finance and computer networking and programming, with over 5,000 students participating in the programs. The Pathways to Prosperity program kicked off just two years ago with major support from the Delaware Manufacturing Association and Delaware State Chamber of Commerce members.