General Assembly Passes Budget But No Room For Congratulations

The Delaware General Assembly did what they could.  They did their best to ensure they wouldn’t spend their 4th of July week at the beck and call of Governor Carney.  They passed the budget, the bond bill, and Grant-In-Aid last night.  With no changes to personal income tax.  $190 million in cuts and $175 million in revenue.  Actions have consequences.  I have no doubt many of them will find that out in 2018 during the next election cycle.  By going after education and the elderly they have proven, once again, far too many of them are heartless bastards who exist to protect the rich more than supporting the poor.

The hand-slapping and high fives will continue.  I’ve seen it already on social media.  In many of their minds, the job is done and they saved the day.  Now they can enjoy the rest of the summer.  As an added bonus, they had the time to work a ton of bills so they can rest assured that when they come back in January their plate won’t be as full.

Now what?  We will see school districts lay off teachers.  The elderly, middle class, and poor will have less than they had before.  Smokers and drinkers will pay more beginning in September.  Any real estate transaction will fill the state coffers.  Charter schools will breath a sigh of relief they didn’t lose their transportation slush fund.  By the way, thank you to the 16 state representatives that voted for doing away with that monstrosity.  Hopefully next year we can abolish it for good.

This is not a victory by any means.  This was a bitter defeat.  It was a surrender, to all that is wrong with Delaware.  The oppressed will rise and make their voice heard in larger numbers.  You reap what you sow.  Shared sacrifice my ass.  This was a slaughter.

Behind The Scenes Discussion At Legislative Hall Could Result In 2% Pay Cut Or Major Increase In Healthcare Costs For ALL State Employees

*Please go to the end of the article for an update on this developing situation.

While it has not been “officially” confirmed, I am hearing leadership in our state government is talking about giving ALL Delaware state employees a 2% cut in pay for FY2018.  The only exception would be prison guards due to the negotiated agreement with them.  The other possible option is increasing health insurance premiums by 50%.  This is going on behind closed doors folks with ZERO transparency.  None.  It is the day before they are supposed to be passing a budget and it has not been released to the public at all.  There is NO option to get your voice heard.

The House and Senate are taking a break to eat dinner.  They should be back on the floor around 8:30pm.  Longhurst’s House Bill #240 which could gut itemized deductions in Delaware and raise YOUR taxes will get a vote.  From the legislators and folks down there I’ve been talking to, the legislators are in a panic mode with Governor Carney seemingly clueless.  No budget has been written.  This is not good folks.  At all.  I’ve heard the cuts in the budget referred to as a “bloodbath”.  We have school boards able to raise taxes through the match tax scam.  We have charters keeping their transportation slush fund.  We axed the estate tax.  There is ZERO organization here folks.  And I won’t even get into the damn bickering between the Dems and the Republicans.  Grow up.  We don’t care.  Do the right thing for our state!

So this is what you need to do citizens of Delaware: get to Legislative Hall tomorrow night around 5pm and swarm every single legislator you can.  Show up IN PERSON.

Ironically, the “Find Your Legislator” portion of the Delaware General Assembly website appears to be not working.  At least for me.  But you view a full list in the blue links here:

Delaware Senators

Delaware State Representatives

This absolute crap and farce of a state government has been operating in the shadows for far too long.  They know this is going to hurt every single state employee but they want to rush this budget and then head off on Summer vacation.  This is shady and it is happening now.  We have State Reps joking around about last names, taking up time when there could be meaningful conversation that the public can here about all this.  I heard one state rep ask for a bill to be tabled until January because of the public’s need to know more about the budget.  Schwartzkopf shot him down.  I don’t know which rep it was, but we need to hear more of that.

Remember, tomorrow.  Make YOUR voice heard LOUD and CLEAR!

Updated 6/30/17, 1:24pm: David Burris, the Chief of Staff for the Delaware Senate Republicans put a response up on Facebook that there has been zero discussion about pay cuts on their side of the aisle.

Delaware General Assembly Spending Task Force

Below are ALL the details on the Delaware General Assembly Spending Task Force, otherwise known as D-GASTF.  As you can see, there is bi-partisan support for this initiative.

Delaware’s Tax Structure 20 Years Ago Was MUCH Higher Than Proposals Coming Out Now

Thank you to State Rep. Trey Paradee for posting this on Facebook.  I didn’t even live in Delaware back in the late 1990s.  Paradee also said Delaware was swimming in money back then.  We are not swimming in money now though.  We are drowning in debt.  We paid the piper and now our legislators are realizing far too much that overspending and not enough oversight has created one hell of a mess in The First State.

Many of us are extremely upset right now.  We see cuts and tax increases.  We hear joking around on the audio of the House.  We see the blame game going back and forth between Republicans and Democrats.  We see a perfectly good bill which would generate $43 million in revenue for the state just dying on the vine.  We see services our elderly and youth get being completely evaporated and diminished.  We are pissed.  We are tired.  We are Delaware.

For legislators who are seeing the back-and-forth on social media right now, they can see our anger.  They need to.  They need to know we the people are not happy on both sides of the aisle.  These are our children and grandparents.  Husbands and wives.  Families.  Schools.  The elderly.  The mentally ill.  The disabled.  The volunteers.  Where is this budget bill?  Let the people see it and weigh in.  Why are you so afraid of transparency?  Maybe, just maybe, one of us common people could propose ideas with a fresh outlook that none of you even thought about.  That is a true democracy.

ALL The Delaware Education Legislation In The General Assembly: Signed, Passed, Pending, & Tabled

*Updated with new legislation, votes on the floor, and committee agendas for tomorrow

Confused by all the Education legislation floating around in Delaware?  Can’t keep track of it all?  Don’t worry, I can’t either sometimes.  But I felt it was necessary to reestablish my old tradition of putting it all together.  I will update this as the Delaware 149th General Assembly finishes off the first half of this session on June 30th and when they reconvene in January 2018.  Below are all 50 of the education bills that have come up in the 149th General Assembly just this year alone.  More legislation will come by the time it is all done on June 30th, 2018. Continue reading “ALL The Delaware Education Legislation In The General Assembly: Signed, Passed, Pending, & Tabled”

Governor Carney & Secretary Bunting Will Be At Big WEIC Meeting Next Week

The Wilmington Education Improvement Commission will hold their next meeting on Tuesday, February 28th.  On the agenda is an appearance by none other than Delaware Governor John Carney and Delaware Secretary of Education Dr. Susan Bunting.  This will be interesting!

weicagenda22817

This week, Carney gutted a proposed weighted funding formula for the FY2018 state budget stating there is no money for it.  WEIC doesn’t work at all if the money isn’t in that budget either.  The state is facing a $350-$400 million dollar budget deficit.  In November, WEIC Chair Tony Allen publicly announced that if WEIC doesn’t go through he can foresee some type of legal action against the State of Delaware.  Interestingly enough, WEIC member Meredith Griffin filed today to run for the Christina School District Board of Education for the election in May.  That sets up that election for a four-person race with still another week to file for potential candidates.  This week, issues of race and due process came up in Red Clay stemming from an incident at a basketball game between A.I. DuPont High School and Delaware Military Academy.  Carney and Bunting are getting an hour to talk.  That is actually a long time.  I can’t say if I’ve ever heard Carney talk about education that long.  I don’t know if all of these issues will come up at the meeting, but this meeting comes at a very interesting time.  This will also be a big moment for Secretary Bunting as she is new in office and will be tasked with restricting the Delaware Dept. of Education.

WEIC and it’s earlier incarnation, WEAC, have been around for two and a half years.  Eventually, WEIC presented a plan to send Christina Wilmington students to Red Clay along with several other initiatives throughout the state to improve education for high-needs students.  After a long and drawn-out battle with the State Board of Education, WEIC’s plan turned into legislation.  That legislation failed to pass in the Delaware Senate.  New legislation extended the planning period for another year.  But with this year’s budget deficit looking dismal, will WEIC get the bypass again?  If it does, what will folks like Tony Allen and Jea Street’s next move be?

This could be a crowded meeting.  Get there early.  And what is up with five minutes of public comment?  They may want to stretch that out!

New Faces In The Delaware House Education Committee

The Delaware 149th General Assembly goes back into session next Tuesday, January 10th.  The Delaware House of Representatives leadership picked the members for their committees.  Some surprising changes are going on with the House Education Committee. Continue reading “New Faces In The Delaware House Education Committee”

Current Delaware Filings For Elected Office As Of 6/20/16

It’s that time of year again when the General Assembly winds down and the election season becomes the top priority in the state.  This is a list of filed candidates for either statewide office or the General Assembly.  Blue means there will be a Democrat Primary while Red means there will be a Republican Primary.  If a district or office is in bold, that means there will be a contest for that office on Election Day.

Delaware Election 2016

Deadline To File for Office: July 12th, 12 noon
Deadline To Register To Vote For Primary Election: August 20th
Primary Election: September 13th (7am-8pm)
Deadline To Register To Vote For General Election: October 15th
General Election: November 8th (7am-8pm)

President:

Hillary Clinton (D)
Bernie Sanders (D)
Donald Trump (R)

Delaware Governor:

Sean Goward (L)
Lacey Lafferty (R)

Congress: US Representative

Sean Barney (D)
Lisa Blunt Rochester (D)
Michael Miller (D)
Bryan Townsend (D)
R.E. Walker (D)
Scott Gesty (L)
Hans Reigle (R)

Lieutenant Governor:

Sherry Dorsey-Walker (D)
Brad Eaby (D)
Greg Fuller (D)
Bethany Hall-Long (D)
Kathleen McGuiness (D)
Ciro Poppiti III (D)

Insurance Commissioner:

Paul Gallagher (D)
Trinidad Navarro (D)
Karen Weldin Stewart (D) (Incumbent)
George Parrish (R)

Delaware General Assembly

State Senate:

District 1: Joseph McCole (D)
District 1: Harris McDowell III (D) (Incumbent)
District 1: James Spadola (R)
District 5: Denise Bowers (R)
District 5: Catherine Cloutier (R) (Incumbent)
District 7: Patricia Blevins (D) (Incumbent)
District 7: Anthony Delcollo (R)
District 8: David Sokola (D) (Incumbent)
District 8: Meredith Chapman (R)
District 12: Nicole Poore (D) (Incumbent)
District 13: David McBride (D) (Incumbent)
District 14: Bruce Ennis (D) (Incumbent)
District 14: Carl Pace (R)
District 15: Dave Lawson (R) (Incumbent)
District 20: Perry Mitchell (D)
District 20: Gerald Hocker (R) (Incumbent)

State Representative:

District 1: Charles Potter (D) (Incumbent)
District 2: Stephanie Boulden (D) (Incumbent)
District 3: Helene Keeley (D) (Incumbent)
District 4: Gerald Brady (D) (Incumbent)
District 5: Melanie George Smith (D) (Incumbent)
District 6: Deb Heffernan (D) (Incumbent)
District 6: Lee Murphy (R)
District 7: David Brady (D)
District 7: Bryon Short (D) (Incumbent)
District 7: David Wilson (L)
District 8: S. Quinton Johnson (D) (Incumbent)
District 9: Richard Griffiths (D)
District 9: Monique Johns (D)
District 9: Kevin Hensley (R) (Incumbent)
District 10: Sean Matthews (D) (Incumbent)
District 10: Dennis Williams (D)
District 10: Judith Travis (R)
District 11: Jeffrey Spiegelman (R) (Incumbent)
District 12: Deb Hudson (R) (Incumbent)
District 13: John Mitchell (D) (Incumbent)
District 14: Don Peterson (D)
District 14: Peter Schwartzkop (D) (Incumbent)
District 15: James Burton (D)
District 15: Valerie Longhurst (D) (Incumbent)
District 16: James Johnson (D) (Incumbent)
District 17: Michael Mulrooney (D) (Incumbent)
District 18: David Bentz (D) (Incumbent)
District 19: Kim Williams (D) (Incumbent)
District 19: James Startzman (R)
District 21: Mike Ramone (R) (Incumbent)
District 22: Lanette Edwards (D)
District 22: Joseph Miro (R) (Incumbent)
District 23: Paul Baumbach (D) (Incumbent)
District 24: Edward Osienski (D) (Incumbent)
District 25: John Kowalko (D) (Incumbent)
District 26: John Viola (D) (Incumbent)
District 27: Earl Jaques (D) (Incumbent)
District 28: William Carson (D) (Incumbent)
District 29: Trey Paradee (D) (Incumbent)
District 30: William Outten (R) (Incumbent)
District 31: Sean Lynn (D) (Incumbent)
District 33: Karen Williams (D)
District 33: Morgan Hudson (R)
District 33: Charles Postles (R
District 33: Robert James Scott (R)
*State Rep Harold Peterman not seeking re-election*
District 34: David Henderson (D)
District 34: Lyndon Yearick (R) (Incumbent)
District 35: Robert Mitchell (R)
District 35: David Wilson (R) (Incumbent)
District 36: Harvey Kenton (R) (Incumbent)
District 37: Paulette Rappa (D)
District 37: Ruth Briggs-King (R) (Incumbent)
District 39: James Brittingham (L)
*State Rep. Daniel Short has not filed*

Open Offices (no one filed yet):

Senate District 9 (currently State Senator Karen Peterson, not running again)
Senate District 19 (currently State Senator Brian Pettyjohn, expected to file)
State Rep. District 20 (currently State Rep. Stephen Smyk)
State Rep. District 32 (currently State Rep. Andria Bennett, expected to file)
State Rep. District 38 (currently State Rep. Ronald Gray)
State Rep. District 40 (currently State Rep. Tim Dukes, expected to file)
State Rep. District 41 (currently State Rep. Richard Collins)
**For Governor,  John Carney (D) and Colin Bonini (R) have not filed yet**
**If State Senator Bryan Townsend wins the US Representative seat, there will be a special election for the 11th Senate District after the General Election**

**If State Senator Bethany Hall-Long wins the Lieutenant Governor office, there will be a special election for the 10th Senate District after the General Election**