By Tyler Micik
The General Assembly finished its second leg of the 151st Session in the early morning of July 1. Unlike the last two years, policymakers were able return to Legislative Hall and conduct much of their work in person.
Despite the challenges presented by rising costs and inflation, the House and the Senate overwhelmingly passed the budget (SB 250). The budget allocated $5.1 billion for spending in FY23 (a 6.9% increase from last year) and nearly $379 million in one-time measures and contingency funds (SB 251)—both the largest in history. These budget bills are aimed at spurring economic recovery as Delaware continues to navigate out of the pandemic. In addition, the operating budget also increased the Budget Stabilization Fund from $287 million to $402 million and Delaware’s Rainy Day Fund from $280 million to $316 million. The 2023 Capital Budget (HB 475), the bond bill, allocates $1.18 billion for capital projects. Grants-in-Aid for FY23 (SB252) was approved at just under $70 million.
The State Chamber's mission is to bring the business community and legislators together at the table to solve problems and help shape policy decisions. One such example of this in action was the Healthy Delaware Families Act—or paid family and medical leave. For more than one year, the State Chamber worked alongside Senator McBride and other key stakeholders to amend the original proposal, which resulted in a policy that allows both employers and employees to appropriately deal with life events while recognizing the economic realities of running a business.
An overview of bills that passed are:
Other bills headed to the Governor include:
Bills that did not make it through this year:
WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?
This summer and into the fall, we will be kickstarting our Member-to-Member program again. The program brings policymakers directly to your place of business so that you can show how your company operates, share your praises and concerns, and discuss the impact various policy proposals—like the ones mentioned above—have on you as an employer, your employees, and customers. Like customer relationships, establishing and maintaining relationships with elected officials is important because it helps create a better understanding for all parties and leads to better policy decisions. This off-season is a crucial time for business and community leaders to meet with their representatives and senators—especially with the fall elections around the corner.
These meetings will continue to highlight important pending legislation that will most likely be worked on again next year like:
All of these bills have a direct impact on Delaware employers and employees. Two in particular that will be priorities of ours next year include the PLUS process and temporary entrance permits. These bills (listed above) are crucial in helping Delaware compete for economic development projects. They stem from the Ready in 6 initiative—which the State Chamber, Delaware Business Roundtable, and other key business groups have been promoting since 2018 when site selectors said that Delaware could move faster to improve its competitive position.
The General Assembly will be on recess until January 2023.
Schedule a Member-to-Member meeting, join a State Chamber committee, reach out to your elected officials who are sponsoring legislation that impacts your organization and employees. These conversations will shape Delaware’s future for years to come.