According to The Business Journals, Delaware lost anet total of more than 28,500 (21st in total jobs lost/gained) jobs from 2006 to 2011. That’s a net downturn of 6.5% and ranks Delaware 45th (out of 51 including D.C.) in the nation. That puts Delaware behind states like New York, New Jersey and California whose economic woes have been made quite plain and it puts them just ahead of states like Michigan, Arizona and Florida who have often been highlighted as the poster states for a recessionary America. This is despite a “pro-business” governor in Jack Markell whose policies have clearly hurt Delaware. Despite suggestions to the contrary, Delaware has failed under Jack Markell’s leadership, to create jobs and expand economic opportunities. Our government has tried every trick and scheme in the book to create a green jobs focused economy and even those attempts, which cost Delaware taxpayers millions of dollars have failed. Recently, Blue Water Wind, who won government subsidies in excess of $800 million went under and took with it untold millions in wasted taxpayer dollars. Before that, Fisker announced that it would begin making its cars in Finland, not in Wilmington. That’s despite more than $650 million in state and federal aid plus a sweet discount deal on the former GM plant at Boxwood Rd. The fact is that Jack Markell and his economic team have simply failed to create any jobs since his election in 2008 because he’s continued the same failed economic policies of Ruth Ann Minner. In fact, since Markell came to us FROM the Minner Administration, it’s pretty clear that we’ve basically reelected Minner to a 3rd term at least as far as the economic policies go. It’s time we got serious about putting Delawareans back to work.
We’ve got to cut taxes on businesses and ease their cost of doing business, reduce regulations to encourage hiring and expansion and target incentives at companies that focus their economic attentions on Delaware. The fact is that businesses are leaving Delaware for Florida, Arizona and other states who have made their business laws and taxes more attractive. We MUST win them back to Delaware. We can cut the gross receipts tax (which taxes each transaction at each level, effectively compounding the tax burden on an item 3 or 4 times before it reaches the customer) by 8%, reduce the corporate tax rate to 5% and match it with the best Chancery Court in the nation to regain our status as America’s business capital. This will not only bring back corporate business like banks and credit cards but also blue collar manufacturing jobs which are SORELY needed in places like Wilmington where the real unemployment rate is nearing 20%. We need to repeal the RGGI and RPS to reduce the electric premium on blue collar job creators. The fact is that Delaware already far exceeds the RGGI standards and the regional cap and trade scheme only succeeds in stealing tens of millions of dollars from Delaware rate payers. Meanwhile, renewable portfolio standards only drive up the cost of energy for both individuals and businesses by demanding that they pay more for their electricity than they need to for less efficient and less reliable energy. Next, we must opt Delaware out of Obamacare by asserting our 10th Amendment rights and joining the 28 states who are suing over the nationalized healthcare bill’s overreach of authority. Exempting Delaware businesses and residents from the enormous costs of Obamacare and opening up the state to more competition in the insurance market will create tens of thousands of jobs and get Delaware back on the road to economic recovery. Finally, it’s time we started investing in businesses that invest in Delaware. We’ve got to target subsidies at companies that rebuild existing structures, hire Delawareans and invest in the communities where they do business. No more open ended blank checks for blanket job creation that employ as many (if not more) out of state workers as they do in-state workers.
If we do these things, we can grow Delaware out of the recession and become a leader in the American emergence. If we fail to do these things, Delaware is doomed to be at the bottom of the pack and stuck in a long term recession. I think Delaware can lead. I think Delaware can be a job creator, an innovator and a leader but we’ve got to act right away.