Occasional Words from the Resistance

Filed in National by on March 17, 2017

…from the desk of R.E. Vanella.

(Author ’s note: This is completely my own commentary. I will paraphrase as I remember. I did not take notes. The entire thing was streamed and recorded for posterity on Facebook Live. So I presume it may be found on the internet.)

19:04 – McKean Auditorium. Ms Hudson introduces the Governor by mentioning how great he is to work with. She is in the quote-minority party-unquote, but apparently you would never know it by the way the new Governor reaches across the aisle to engage. I turned to my good mate, metallurgist and science writer brought up in post-war London, near the Charlton Athletic football ground, and in a voice audible to the room say, “Yeah, you would never know it…”

Then she goes on to say that the Governor has another engagement and needs to split promptly at 8pm. Good news we’re told is he likes to stay on time. I looked at the clock. It is ten minutes past.

Then we get the same PowerPoint drivel. I did notice that the graph I received a month of so ago at the Timothy’s klatch that displayed the percentage of revenue raised from each of the main categories over the last 30-odd years was gone. A new slide was included. It was Markell’s budget projections from last year.

Much attention was drawn to the following:

1. Carney has only been in office a few months

2. The projections were Markell’s based on assumptions made by an outside committee……………

3. Carney was just elected

& so on…

After he tells us what’s in the PowerPoint questions begin promptly at 19:30. The following bits are commonly known as highlights, although that description seems a real stretch. There were no discernible “answers,” per se.

The real estate transfer tax will massacre the real estate industry. (Those Realtors have one strong lobby.)

The property tax on a million dollar home in Rehoboth Beach is less than $700 while the tax bill on the guy’s $300,000 home in Pike Creek is like $2,300. These figures were mildly and respectfully disputed. Some remarks were made. The situation’s unfairness in any event was stipulated. Also, the guy wore a Phillies cap and Carney made the obligatory March baseball comment about hope.

Two “questions” that ate up about 9 minutes were about consolidating the school districts.

Two comments suggested incenting venture capital for investment in tech jobs and/or environment, etc… (The idea that providing heavy incentives to capital was when my mood started to turn. Then I remembered I was in the suburbs.)

A retired cop may an impassioned plea for some type of criminal justice reform. Here I will ask someone to dig up the video because I couldn’t tell what exactly he was arguing for. He knew the state recidivism rate and the Governor agreed it was bad.

There was the obligatory marijuana legalization question/statement that Carney tried to deflect by mentioning that advocates are following him around the state. Then he made said advocates all stand. So, given my mood souring by the minute, I yell out, “just answer the question!” To which he says, OK. Then doesn’t answer the question. He had friends in Congress from Colorado and we just don’t know. It was unclear exactly who the ‘we’ may be and also what ‘we’ don’t know.

A good many people were aggrieved about these sweet heart deals that some get, but they don’t. These people with the golden parachutes include state employees. At this I leaned into my wife’s ear and said, “these people think that’s the real problem?” In his defense Carney did say more than once that the income tax rate is 6% on everything above $60K. Not one person questioned this.

So by then my disgust was at like a 12. I was walking out before Ms Hudson was even finished with her closing niceties.

I think the best way to summarize my thoughts for you all is the same way I did personally to Mr Starkey, who caught up with me on my way out. The Communications Director asked me point blank, “What did you think?” I said I was embarrassed. People don’t know where the money is. The Governor drones over and over about strong economic growth, but as the separate one page document distributed through the theater clearly indicates the total Gross Domestic Product for Delaware has been on a steady surge for years. The U.S. Bureau of Economic analysis shows an increase from $34 billion in 1998 to approaching $70 billion today.

On the reverse of that same page is a News Journal article titled “Delaware’s top 1 percent claims all income growth.” I had seen it before….


Read it again, and very carefully.

About the Author ()

Jason330 is a deep cover double agent working for the GOP. Don't tell anybody.

Comments (18)

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  1. RE Vanella says:

    As mentioned in the author’s note, this is commentary and not reporting.

  2. jason330 says:

    Did you ever get the feeling that Carney knows what he is doing? Or to be more precise, is this fix in and this is Kabuki, or is he still searching for a miracle cure?

  3. El Somnambulo says:

    Reaching across the aisle to find common ground with Deborah Hudson–representing Greenville’s elite for about 20 years now.

    Just what we need.

  4. RE Vanella says:

    Budget proposal is due out next week I think. That’ll shed some light. Either he puts stuff in there he believes in and makes a strong argument for it, or straddles the fence and says nothing of substance.

    I get the feeling that Carney has absolutely zero interest in sticking his neck out for anything. I believe that’s by design. So yeah I do think he knows what he’s doing. He’s an educated man with experience. He may have good ideas, but we’ll never know what they are.

  5. El Somnambulo says:

    Remember, this is the first year of a two-year legislative session. If you don’t raise revenues THIS year, the Chicken Littles in Dover will not do it in an election year.

    Carney may (or may not) be ‘intelligent’, but he has displayed no vision whatsoever. What if he’s only what he once was–an intelligent bean-counter? That’s something, but it’s not a governor for our times.

  6. RE Vanella says:

    Agree. I noted he was educated, not necessarily intelligent. But if he does have a vision, if he does stand for something, he’s doing an excellent job concealing what it may be.

  7. liberalgeek says:

    I watched on FB. The budget will be delivered next Thursday and this reporting is pretty spot on about the topics covered.

    I thought that the odd “Can all of the marijuana folks stand up?” segment was VERY weird.

  8. anon says:

    I thought that the odd “Can all of the marijuana folks stand up?” segment was VERY weird.

    I find that unusual as well, and on video. “Every one of you criminals who wants to legalize this illegal drug stand up, smile and say, “Hi Jeff Sessions” for the camera so we can identify you later.”

    In past meetings he has said that:

    He wants to get the medicinal marijuana program up and running first.
    He wants to see how other states do first.
    He’s going to have a Town Hall specifically on the marijuana issue.
    He’s leaning towards not being in favor of it.
    He knows that other states have had issues.

    He’s just not in favor of legalization, even though it could be exactly what Delaware’s economy needs.

    The cannabis people put out a newsflash this morning that the legalization bill will be introduced this month, but it will not allow for anyone to have even one plant of their own.

    No personal plants is because of special interests, not lost tax revenues. Mark my words. In Delaware it’s always about bowing to the special interests.

  9. Jason330 says:

    Delaware MPP is really doing amazing work. I hope all of that energy, discipline and determination becomes a model for other left of center advocacy groups.

  10. RE Vanella says:

    Many other states have already done. California passed medical marijuana in ’96. It has been de facto recreational there for over a decade because of the loose law. Scripts were not difficult to obtain.

    Perhaps if Carney is concerned with other states “issues” he could name one specifically. I mean the jury is in on booze and I don’t heard any screaming for Prohibition 2.0…

    He’s been clear he’s not supportive, but gives no reasons.

    The fact that he cites no specific issues, no evidence and no sources for his opinion means the Governor is not to be taken seriously.

    Until he demonstrates otherwise I’m assuming he doesn’t know what he’s talking about.

  11. Aurochs says:

    I have not been able to make it to any coffee klatches, but there’s a nice form on the state’s website for submitting proposals. Wonder if the submissions actually get read?

    You could do either of these things:

    – Add one or two income tax brackets above $60,000. I am quite frankly stunned by this quirk of the tax code, and wonder if the tax brackets have ever been changed at any point in my 30 years on this earth. We may as well have a flat tax.

    – Increase the franchise tax. It does not have to be a large increase. Companies incorporate in Delaware in large part for access to our Chancery Courts, which is attractive enough in its own right to keep them here. Contrary to your rehtoric, our state is not simply viewed as a tax haven.

    Those are a couple of ideas. Your argument that economic growth is the only appropriate vehicle to increase revenues falls flat in the face of reality: Delaware’s GDP has been growing steadily for years. Current policies are simply not equipped to make use of where that growth has been happening– well above the $60,000 bracket.

    I am, further, dismayed at reports that you are considering cuts to state workers’ benefits and education. Such cuts would balace the budget at the expense of our state’s already struggling middle class, and education cuts would make us less attractive to companies looking to expand, relocate, or start up. I urge you to reconsider these positions.

    I did not mention the marijuana issue because a) it would undermine (or at least dilute) the thrust of my missive, and b) while I think it’s a good idea, I don’t think it should be viewed as a solution to the budget problem.

  12. RE Vanella says:

    Carney did mention an idea about increasing the vigorish collected (so-called franchise fees) from ~$185,000 to ~$225,000.

  13. Alby says:

    @Aurochs: Personal income tax rates were lowered and flattened seven times in the eight years of the Carper governorship in the ’90s.

    Also, agreed on the marijuana issue. There are good reasons to pass such a law, but selling it on tax revenue would be false advertising.

    The state police will never allow legal pot unless the state police or a close crony is in charge of profiting from it.

  14. Aurochs says:

    Ah yes, the age of triangulation. Newt Gingrich and Grover Norquist were getting plenty of oxygen, and Bill Clinton thought he could appease the dog-whistlers by giving them something they wanted. Now it makes sense.

  15. Alby says:

    You’ll notice that, except for Clinton, all those people still get plenty of oxygen, at least in the mainstream media. That’s the problem with Democrats — the ’90s were so great they’re stuck there. Carper, for example, has not changed his stripes — skunks have stripes, right? — one millimeter since the Clinton years. And his acolyte Carney is, if anything, even worse.

    You’ll also notice that an entire generation of Democrats shows all the personality and leadership abilities of a bunch of Bank of America middle managers.

    If we ever get a liberal Democratic Party it will have to be led by women, and I’m not talking about the current crop in Dover. That’s why it’s sad to see LBR function as nothing but a junior member of Team Carper.

  16. Aurochs says:

    Eh, Grover Norquist seems reduced to advocating for vapers’ rights or whatever the fuck on Twitter at this point. Paul Ryan picked up his anti-tax torch and ran with it. Gingrich does get oxygen, but I don’t think he’s taken nearly as seriously as he was.

    Can’t argue with you on the time warp the Dems are stuck in, though.

  17. Alby says:

    They all still sign Norquist’s no-tax pledge, though.

  18. Aurochs says:

    If we diagnose the problem with the Dems as being stuck in a time warp, then the future of a liberal Democratic Party rests on breaking out of that time warp. To that end, I don’t care if the leaders are men or women, black or white, so long as they have a clear vision of what’s wrong and how to fix it, can communicate that vision effectively, and can lead a successful campaign and tenure in office (whatever that office might be). Our recent history is littered with as many women as men who utterly failed at one or more of these objectives– Hillary Clinton, DWS, pretty much everybody in Dover right now… Luckily, I feel that there are about as many women as men who DO have those qualities and are being shut out or discouraged to come forward altogether by the current leadership. The challenge is finding them and getting them where they need to be.

    I think that the more predictive criterion is going to be age, not gender. The younger you are, the less attached you are to the ’90s; the more clearly you’re going to be able to see the problems with TODAY’S policy and discourse. I don’t think either men or women have a monopoly on vision or leadership ability. I do think the sclerotic party apparatus is the chief barrier to entry for anyone challenging the Third Way. Which is why I’m concerned about the lack of attention this blog pays to the idea of changing that apparatus.