General Assembly Post-Game Wrap-Up/Pre-Game Show: Thurs., May 18, 2017

Filed in Delaware, Featured by on May 18, 2017 16 Comments

A quid pro quo?

Both HB 16 (Ramone)  and HB 175 (Schwartzkopf) are on today’s House Agenda. HB 175 raises corporates taxes and fees and makes a substantial dent in the budget deficit.  HB 16 eliminates the Estate Tax.

I wouldn’t be shocked if Speaker Pete placed HB 16 on the Agenda as part of an agreement with the R’s  that they would not oppose HB 175 if they got a roll call on HB 16.  That, of course, doesn’t mean that D’s will vote for HB 16. Agreeing to place a bill on the Agenda is not the same as agreeing to rustle up votes for the bill. In fact, any D who does vote for the bill deserves a primary opponent. ‘Nuff said.

Today’s House Agenda is probably its most ambitious agenda so far this year.  The only question is: Will the House work the entire agenda today?  While the answer would ordinarily be no, this is the last legislative session until June. It will either be a long day in the House, or everybody will scramble out pretty early for some Vay-Kay.  All except for the Joint Finance Committee members, who will be doing some budget markup during the break.

HS 1/HB 85 (Williams) will be considered.  We’ve discussed this bill eliminating charter school enrollment preferences before. Rep. Kowalko has introduced a substantive amendment to the bill. Fate of the bill and/or the amendment is uncertain. If you can only listen to one Leg Hall feed today, make it the House.

The Senate Agenda is equally long but less noteworthy. This one’s a good campaign brochure bill: SB 38 (Townsend) codifies existing property tax exemptions for individuals with disabilities, even if the subdivision subsequently eliminates those exemptions. Other than that, some Sunset bills, plus some odds ‘n ends. (Hey, it’s Thursday, I’m burnt out.)

OK, let’s see what happened yesterday. For you completists, here is the Session Activity Report,

The highlight? Legislation banning the practice of conversion therapy passed. The roll call on SB 65 (McDowell) was 12 Y, 3N, 4 NV, and 2 Absent.  The three nays were Hocker, Lawson and Richardson.  The Not Votings were Ennis, Marshall, Pettyjohn and Simpson. The three R’s who voted yes were Cloutier, Delcollo and Lopez.  BTW,  I’ve made no secret of my affinity for Bob Marshall.  I like him personally and professionally. However, he no longer can be considered a reliable vote on progressive issues.  It might be better for all concerned if he were to retire at the end of this term.

I’m retiring at the end of this paragraph for a two-week break from the General Assembly. Got to steel myself for what will likely be a contentious June. Perhaps we’ll even have a Jellyfish John sighting. Buh-bye.

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  1. Blackflyer says:

    HS1/HB85 It’s time to consider getting rid of charter schools altogether. Money is siphoned from “home” districts in ways that cripple the home district’s ability to perform. The early promise that charter schools would be “laboratories” for educational progress was grossly (and perhaps deliberately) overblown. The provisions to exempt charter schools from the regulations that govern traditional schools never made sense. Those regs are there for a reason. If a reg is no longer productive, get rid of it for all schools, not just a privileged few schools. Testing: charter schools exempt from the most onerous program of testing plaguing the traditional schools. Nothing ever took the place of those traditional school requirements. Altogether, it amounted to a taxpayer giveaway, and we didn’t get anything back for the capital sacrificed. Worse, charter schools have been a sly way to re-segregate schools. The demographic makeup of charter school classrooms should have raised eyebrows from the start. Students dismissed from charter schools for cause came back to the home district to educate, but not the money. Finally, there continues to be suspicion, supported by observation, that Dem Pols used charter schools to have cover for removing their children from traditional schools, even as they voted to reduce funding for traditional schools in the face of declining revenue. And in this the pols have abdicated their constutionally mandated responsibility: “1. The General Assembly shall provide for the establishment and maintenance of a general and efficient system of free public schools”. It requires our legislators to find the money to fund traditional schools, and only traditional schools. The cuts to teaching ranks this spring, the pink slips going out to teachers demonstrates the legislature is NOT doing it’s job. RAISE THE MONEY. Do your job. Stop cutting the meat from education and telling people it is fat. There is no fat. Not in tradtional schools. They’ve been cut to the bone. Do your job. Raise revenue. Sadly, cutting charter schools is a step in the right direction, but it won’t save any money. Those charter school students still must be educated and the traditional schools need the money the charter schools are now getting.

  2. john kowalko says:

    I’m sure of two things. The deals have been cut and no one, absolutely no one, has offered rhyme, reason or revenue plans to address what could be a massive additional revenue shortfall with estate tax repeal. Special thanks to Representative Ramone and some Dems. who would not allow HB 101 (minimal increase in the current $300 per year fee paid by the 857,000 LLC licensees in Delaware that could raise over $40 million in additional revenue) out of committee while getting this repeal bill for the rich out of that same committee that same day. Bueller, Bueller anyone?

    Today 5/18/17, a bill to repeal the “estate tax”, has been placed on the House Agenda by Speaker Schwartzkopf. It will require a suspension of rules due to notification inadequacies but more importantly it will guarantee less revenue for the state and amounts to a giveaway to the Republicans and the wealthy. This tax garnered $9.3 million in revenue in 2016 and to date there have been no suggestions from leadership of either party or the JFC as to how that revenue loss will be replaced. I have asked this question of all of my Democratic colleagues and have not received one suggestion. This bill should not receive one Democrat vote but it will as deals have been cut to the detriment of Delaware’s taxpayers to ensure passage. This is irresponsible and abhorrent behavior that contradicts true Democratic party principles and ideals and all Democrat legislators should reject this or be held accountable.
    Representative John Kowalko

  3. Alby says:

    If Ramone ever finds a business he can actually make money at, he wants to pass it on to his kids.

  4. chris says:

    What–Flower shops don’t make tons of money? or pools?

  5. Alby says:

    Or whatever else comes along next. When I see a guy open that many unrelated businesses, I figure he’s a terrible employee so he has to work for himself.

  6. Tom Kline says:

    Kowalko is an old Communist. Time to retire old man.

  7. john kowalko says:

    Tom better an old communist than a Trumpian, rabid dog conservative who gets his jollies watching elderly people forego food or medicine so some wealthier than God family can avoid its fair share. You are committed to relentlessly pursue your ambition to be totally irrelevant to society (like your hero- the donald) and a complete a-hole. Congratulations, you’ve made the finals. Soon it will be time for you to wipe or maybe change your depends.

    By overstatement I presume you mean disclosing the actual $9.3 million in revenue recovered although it was originally projected at $3-$3.5 million the last time the recommendation to repeal came from the Chamber of Commerce, the Business Roundtable and some suspect Dems. who play in the same sandbox. Or perhaps you can assure that the revenue will be in line with the estimates of $3 million lost. You may wish to check out the DFAC report of $24 million less in revenue from PIT then originally projected. Hello— higher brackets, (so sorry),- not allowed on the agenda under suspension of rules or otherwise. But let’s assume that you mean my “Chicken Little” persona will hurt the argument so let me just offer some actual proposed cuts that probably will be made despite the assured loss of $3million and up in actual revenue.
    1) Elimination of the General assistance fund (saving $5m) that provides a whopping $3 per day to a few thousand qualified recipients (including homeless and single moms) who are unemployed and do not qualify for other (S.S. etc) benefits.
    2) Elimination of the Delaware Prescription Assistance Program (saving $2.5 m) available for a means tested destitute senior population that cannot afford their food and medicine at the same time.
    3) $2.6 M saved by reducing the Medicaid Dental reimbursement (say goodbye to your rare dentist who is willing to see those poor children and pregnant moms)
    4) $1.4 million reduction to TANF
    5) $5million reduction in school tax credit currently allowed to seniors (approx. $100 each—means test you say? heaven forbid just cut across the board and that medicine or food choice for Auntie Destitute will solve itself when she starves to death or has a fatal stroke.
    6) $3.5 million Pupil Transportation increase for traditional schools–shifting State/Local share from 90:10 to 85L:15. And if you are curious at all then rest assured that Rep. Melanie Smith and Sen. Bushweiler will be placing epilogue language into the budget to allow Charters to keep unspent transportation money (they’re not getting cut) despite taxpayers losing $1.25 to $1.5+ million each year. And the sop offered is that they will do the same for Districts. I reiterated a dialogue I’ve had with the esteemed representative that “THERE IS ABSOLUTELY NO MONEY LEFT OVER IN TRADITIONAL SCHOOLS BUDGETS AND IT MUST BE SUPPLEMENTED WITH LOCAL TAXPAYER MONIES” Even though TPS get approximately $550 per student while Charters get approx. $850 per student.
    So Chicken Little, alarmist or unduly harsh critic “that’s the facts Jack”
    Representative John Kowalko

  8. Alby says:

    Hey Tom, where can I meet up with you? I really want to tell you to fuck off to your face.

  9. mouse says:

    I guess lower class conservative republicans don’t realize there’s like a 1.5 million dollar exemption on the estate tax and they won’t have to pay taxes for inheriting their mom’s trailer

  10. Aurochs says:

    HB 16 passed, 26-14 with 1 absent. This was after adoption of an amendment clarifying that it applies to people deceased after Dec. 31. Before that amendment the vote was 35-5 with 1 absent.

    Not sure how this was voted on a simple majority basis– maybe that was the Suspension of Rules Kowalko was talking about? I thought that was a constitutional requirement for revenue bills though. At any rate, 26 is one more than 3/5 of the House, so it wouldn’t have mattered.

  11. Aurochs says:

    “Yes” voters in the Dem column:

    Gerald Brady
    William Carson
    Bryon Short
    Valerie Longhurst
    Melanie Smith
    Michael Mulrooney
    Trey Paradee
    Quinton Johnson
    Peter Schwartzkopf
    John Viola

    Helene Keeley was the absentee.

    House leadership clearly wanted this to pass, but that they got 7 other Dems on board is mind-numbing.

    Every “no” vote was from a Dem, predictably.

  12. Aurochs says:

    Oh, another thing! HB 175 is pretty much exactly what Carney asked for in his “shared sacrifice” budget blueprint wrt the franchise tax. Expect more of these quid pro quo tactics in the future to push through his shitty personal income tax plan and anything else the Republicans might not go for.

    Schwartzkopf will probably leave HB 109 on the Ready List as long as possible. I suspect Carney actively does NOT want it to leave the House.

  13. Tom Kline says:

    Why are lefty libs so darn angry. Again, you’ve destroyed our party. Go off and form your own. Stop representing yourself as a Democrat.

    Hey Tom, where can I meet up with you? I really want to tell you to fuck off to your face.

  14. Tom Kline says:

    Here’s the bottom line. Continue to piss off those of us paying a lions share of taxes we leave DE. Please do everyone a favor and retire. You can enjoy what time you have left and continue to collect an undeserved paycheck from DE tax payers.

    john kowalko says:
    May 18, 2017 at 12:34 pm
    Tom better an old communist than a Trumpian, rabid dog conservative who gets his jollies watching elderly people forego food or medicine so some wealthier than God family can avoid its fair share. You are committed to relentlessly pursue your ambition to be totally irrelevant to society (like your hero- the donald) and a complete a-hole. Congratulations, you’ve made the finals. Soon it will be time for you to wipe or maybe change your depends.

    By overstatement I presume you mean disclosing the actual $9.3 million in revenue recovered although it was originally projected at $3-$3.5 million the last time the recommendation to repeal came from the Chamber of Commerce, the Business Roundtable and some suspect Dems. who play in the same sandbox. Or perhaps you can assure that the revenue will be in line with the estimates of $3 million lost. You may wish to check out the DFAC report of $24 million less in revenue from PIT then originally projected. Hello— higher brackets, (so sorry),- not allowed on the agenda under suspension of rules or otherwise. But let’s assume that you mean my “Chicken Little” persona will hurt the argument so let me just offer some actual proposed cuts that probably will be made despite the assured loss of $3million and up in actual revenue.
    1) Elimination of the General assistance fund (saving $5m) that provides a whopping $3 per day to a few thousand qualified recipients (including homeless and single moms) who are unemployed and do not qualify for other (S.S. etc) benefits.
    2) Elimination of the Delaware Prescription Assistance Program (saving $2.5 m) available for a means tested destitute senior population that cannot afford their food and medicine at the same time.
    3) $2.6 M saved by reducing the Medicaid Dental reimbursement (say goodbye to your rare dentist who is willing to see those poor children and pregnant moms)
    4) $1.4 million reduction to TANF
    5) $5million reduction in school tax credit currently allowed to seniors (approx. $100 each—means test you say? heaven forbid just cut across the board and that medicine or food choice for Auntie Destitute will solve itself when she starves to death or has a fatal stroke.
    6) $3.5 million Pupil Transportation increase for traditional schools–shifting State/Local share from 90:10 to 85L:15. And if you are curious at all then rest assured that Rep. Melanie Smith and Sen. Bushweiler will be placing epilogue language into the budget to allow Charters to keep unspent transportation money (they’re not getting cut) despite taxpayers losing $1.25 to $1.5+ million each year. And the sop offered is that they will do the same for Districts. I reiterated a dialogue I’ve had with the esteemed representative that “THERE IS ABSOLUTELY NO MONEY LEFT OVER IN TRADITIONAL SCHOOLS BUDGETS AND IT MUST BE SUPPLEMENTED WITH LOCAL TAXPAYER MONIES” Even though TPS get approximately $550 per student while Charters get approx. $850 per student.
    So Chicken Little, alarmist or unduly harsh critic “that’s the facts Jack”
    Representative John Kowalko

  15. Alby says:

    What’s the matter, fuckstick? Forget to tell me where I can find you?

    Who said I was angry? That’s like saying that I’m angry every time I see a turd in the toilet bowl.

    You’re just an asshole. One too frightened to meet me, apparently.

    BTW, the Democratic Party is as dead as old Marley, and it was killed by people like you posing as Democrats.

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