"Today Delawareans heard directly from Republicans in the General Assembly about their would-be austerity plan for Delaware – all while suggesting things like early-childhood education, affordable college, and Medicaid are niceties [VIDEO] that fall outside the scope of core government responsibilities.
The idea that investing taxpayer dollars on these and other core services represents a “spending problem” highlights the growing rift between the Republican Party and most Delawareans, particularly after almost a decade of near zero-growth budgets. It makes for a nice campaign slogan, but slogans won’t close our deficit. With only nine legislative days left in 2017, we're working to find a balanced budget solution while our Republican colleagues are preoccupied with political theater that ignores reality and does a disservice to the Delawareans who pay their taxes expecting vital core services in return.
In effect, Republicans announced today that they intend to hold critical services hostage while they seek to shift the burden of our budget onto working families by dismantling fair wage laws and targeting health care coverage for the least fortunate Delawareans.
We stand ready and willing to continue working with Republican colleagues on a balanced solution that is fair to all Delawareans, but we need to come to the table with the same set of facts.
We have a $385 million deficit after nearly a decade in which our budgets grew at less than the rate of inflation. We have a $385 million deficit even as we’ve held the line on spending outside our two main cost drivers: teaching our kids and keeping our residents healthy. We have a $385 million deficit after doing everything possible to hold the line on taxes – even lowering some key corporate taxes to spur economic growth. We're rated as one of the most tax-friendly states in the country as a result, a place where someone making $60,000 a year pays the same tax rate as someone earning $600,000. Friendly doesn’t mean fair.
The fact is that we find ourselves in this challenging situation today, not because we haven’t been fiscally responsible, but because we have. Now we need to put our heads together, put ideology aside, and give the people of Delaware what they deserve – a responsible budget that puts our families first."