Two prominent Delaware business people are putting their name – and money – behind a new organization that will advocate for “pro-growth, pro-jobs policies” and push for transparency and accountability in state government.
The non-partisan political action committee (PAC), “A Better Delaware,” was launched by Chris Kenny, president and CEO of The Kenny Family ShopRites of Delaware, and entrepreneur and philanthropist Ben du Pont at a gathering of business and community leaders they pitched to join their efforts.
A Better Delaware is classified as a Section 527 political organization, which allows it to lobby, fund political advertisements and communications and it can accept funds from individuals, businesses and other PACs.
Kenny and du Pont say Delaware’s business environment needs to improve if the economy is going to attract and sustain investment and job creation and their efforts will be focused on educating voters and influencing legislation.
“I speak with employers and workers every day who share my concern about Delaware’s business climate and our competitiveness with other states,” said Kenny. “Too many politicians in Dover are out of touch with the realities of starting and operating a business, and what it takes to create good jobs.”
Citing studies showing Delaware is lagging on job creation, du Pont said the PAC will advocate “taxes, government spending and regulations that are under control” to “help entrepreneurs flourish.”
The group pointed to a recent study that ranked Delaware as the 7th worst state in the nation to open a new business and a Tax Foundation report that showed Delaware as having the nation’s highest tax on business and the 10th highest personal income tax.
Du Pont said he was “an optimist” but that state spending and taxes were trending in a troubling direction. “Delaware prospers best when government is in check. And the fact is Delaware’s economy was growing the fastest when Delaware was lowering taxes. That’s not an opinion. That’s a fact.”
While organizations like the State Chamber of Commerce do lobby on behalf of business issues, A Better Delaware executive director Zoe Callaway said they were the state’s only grassroots group “dedicated to pro-growth, pro-jobs policies and government accountability.”
Callaway said the group was working to build alliances with other groups that share their objectives and that initial response to the launch has been positive. “That shows how thirsty regular people are for an organization like ours to step up and take on the status quo,” she said.
In his remarks to the business leaders, Kenny said that, “a major reason Delaware is losing ground is because few are holding the politicians accountable.” He went on to say the group has already raised several hundred thousand dollars and was putting plans in place to invest those funds in statewide communications efforts.