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Thursday, April 22, 2021

State's Dismal Revenue Projections Tell the Real Story

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Chris Simon
Chris Simon is an attorney in Wilmington.

I read with disappointment the recent News Journal piece about decreased revenue projections. I am frustrated by the spin by the Governor and the State’s Office of Management and Budget offered in response to the disturbing trending finances of our state.

In the face of anemic job numbers and diminishing corporate tax revenue, state officials publicly proclaim a rosy future lies right around the corner. This state has a rich history of economic might, a national center where the best and brightest in finance, science, business, and law flocked for good, high paying jobs. DuPont, Chrysler and General Motors maintained significant manufacturing presences here, and thousands made good livings supporting the local demand for goods and services.

These jobs are largely gone, and no one has any confidence we have an ambitious plan to restore them. Public officials tell us we are doing great, but we residents know that Delaware is becoming another high-tax, expensive, northeastern state with a bloated public sector. Just blocks from the state’s central business district, gunfire erupts on a daily basis.

According to the OMB and Markell administration, a couple hundred bank jobs are around the corner (disregard the promises about Fisker). If that won’t solve our budget woes, state officials insist they will close budget gaps with gambling revenue. In a state with a massive corporate tax subsidy, the fact that we even face the prospect of a budget gap is appalling. State officials seemingly have left no room to implement a contingency plan that would, say, create a low-tax, economic development zone in our State.

No one doubts economic or fiscal problems arise or resolve overnight; but lack of self awareness or honesty about our problems will do nothing to turn things around. Unless Dover stops taking our history for granted and begins to communicate earnestly and honestly to address economic issues, Delaware could sadly end up as just another remote, gambling outpost. That is not a future any of us want to see.

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