Homeowners Set To Get Screwed With Governor Carney’s “Shared Sacrifice”

Yesterday, the Delaware Economic Forecast Advisory Committee (DEFAC) projected Delaware’s budget deficit for Fiscal Year 2018 to be $395 million dollars.  This is up ten million from the last time the committee met.  Tonight, the Christina Board of Education will discuss the impact on taxpayers.  Governor Carney is suggesting school boards raise what is known as the match tax (the portion the state matches certain funding) by having the district school boards levy the tax without a referendum.

Christina’s Chief Financial Officer, Bob Silber, created an impact budget for how this increase would hit taxpayers.  In the below example, a home that just sold for $224,000 would see their property taxes raised $46.50 with the match tax scenario.  Keep in mind, this is based on the property assessment value of $63,700, which is almost a quarter of the home’s actual value based on the sale price.

This is not the only sting homeowners, as well as all Delaware citizens, will feel starting July 1st.  State taxes, collected from paychecks, will go up for most.  State employees will see higher insurance rates.  Salary raises for state employees will most likely disappear.  Services will be cut.  It is all rather bleak.  Our General Assembly has utilized every single benefit to state funding, such as the proceeds from the tobacco lawsuit, without realizing those perks were eventually going to disappear.  State revenue does not match state expenses.  Companies, such as DuPont and soon Barclays, left Delaware for the most part, causing a severe lack of revenue and jobs.  Delaware has, and will continue to, spend more than it makes.

With the Wilmington Education Improvement Commission, there was a request to raise property assessment values.  While Delaware’s assessment values are still far lower than most states, it also created an influx of senior citizens moving to The First State because of that.  But the ability of school boards to raise property taxes, already through the special education tuition tax and soon the match tax, could have a negative impact on the desire of the elderly to move to Delaware or even stay here.

Meanwhile, there has been no action on the Governor’s part to institute the basic special education funding for students in Kindergarten to 3rd Grade.  State Rep. Kim Williams introduced two bills in the last two General Assemblies to take care of this but neither bill has moved forward due to the state funding issues.  Oblivious to all the future costs by not having this essential funding in place, our state continues to bumble through special education with this very real omission to the foundation of special education students who are just beginning to manifest their disabilities.  The projected amount to fund what should have always been there is a little bit less than $13 million a year.  By not providing that funding, the state relies on the school districts or charter schools to pay for these services.  Either way, it has a negative effect.  If the school does provide those services, it results in more of a drain on local funding.  If the school doesn’t, they are not only breaking special education law if the child qualifies for an Individualized Education Program, but they are also looking at higher costs for that student in the future by not providing that foundation.  So that $13 million a year mushrooms to much higher costs for these students down the road.

Just this morning, State Rep. Earl Jaques announced a new bill on Facebook creating a fund in the Delaware Dept. of Education budget for an Educational Support Professional of the Year award.  Delaware has 16 school districts, 3 vocational districts, and over 20 charter schools.  This bill would allow each district (20, which includes one award for all the charters) to give their winner an extra $1000.00.  The overall winner would get $1,500.00.  While $21,500 in the DOE budget doesn’t amount to much, it is symptomatic of the mindset of far too many of our legislators.  Instead of finding solutions, too many of them find ways to spend even more money.  If our state was swimming in money, I would be okay with this bill.  But not now.

Delaware’s legislature is going to have their hands full when they return from Spring Break next Tuesday.  This budget deficit is not the result of a national recession like what we faced in 2009.  This is Delaware created.  We spent our way out of the recession and now we are paying the piper.  Governor Carney looks like a deer running towards headlights with his reactions to this ever-increasing budget deficit.  I predict he will have a very tough time getting re-elected in 2020 if this trend continues.

Governor’s Advisory Council For Exceptional Citizens Looking Out For The Special Needs Of Delaware

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In Federal IDEA Regulation, each state must have an advisory council for disabilities.  In Delaware, that council is the Governor’s Advisory Council for Exceptional Citizens, or GACEC.  The group meets eight times a year to discuss issues with citizens for special needs at the George Massey Station building in Dover.  But don’t let that number fool you, because there is a lot of work going way beyond their meetings!

The GACEC has many functions and committees that perform these tasks.  The Policy and Law Committee will go through regulations that might impact the disabled in Delaware and will carefully review any pending or existing regulations or laws in the state.  The Children and Youth Committee will look at different special education practices or services in the communities for children.  The Adult/Transition Services Committee finds ways to make life better for adults with disabilities all over the state.  Another committee called Infant/Early Child Care tackles needs for our tiniest disabled citizens and looks for ways to make their life better as well.

The group has sponsored recent campaigns such as the DelAWARE DisABILITY Hub website, serving adults in transition.  Over the holidays and still continuing over the Winter is the Heart 2 Hugs program, which collects cold weather clothing for homeless children or those in foster care.

They recently met in November and just released their minutes from that meeting.  I really like what I saw.  From their November board minutes:

All public meeting minutes should be this detailed!  As you can see, this group works very hard for the exceptional of Delaware.  They are very thorough and committed to our most vulnerable of citizens!

The group meets again this Tuesday, January 20th at 516 W. Loockerman St. at 6pm in the George V. Massey Building in the executive conference room in downtown Dover.  Come and check it out and learn what goes on behind the scenes in our state for Exceptional Citizens!

To find out more about GACEC, please go to:

http://www.gacec.delaware.gov/