…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.