We're making progress on issues Del. cares about (John Carney)
According to the governor, Delaware is forging ahead in four crucial areas . And he credits his administration with reaching out to Delawareans (via more than 50 townhall meetings, small business roundtables, and other public discussions) and soliciting their ideas on how “to make Delaware an even better place to live, work and raise a family.”
Here’s a recap of Mr. Carney’s column, juxtaposed with Charlie Copeland’s rebuttal in a Data Delaware interview that was posted by Caesar Rodney Institute on 7/29/19.
#EDUCATION – “We’re improving schools for all Delaware children, as shown by the increased number of students who are graduating from high school.
Whatever the high school graduation improvement (an absolute number versus percentage increase is cited), for example, a disappointingly low percentage of students (50% in English, 28% in math) who take the SAT in Delaware score as college ready. Moreover, students of Asian heritage are leading the pack while other minority students are doing far worse than average.
#ECONOMY – We’re strengthening our economy, with state unemployment at the lowest rate in 30 years.
OK, the DE unemployment rate is down, but many of the jobs are low-paying, e.g., 25% of the workers in Delaware make $24K per year or less. No wonder so many people are living paycheck-to-paycheck or being forced to work two jobs.
#ENVIRONMENT – We’re preserving Delaware’s unique natural heritage by setting aside record amounts of open space state-wide.
#BUDGET – We’re responsibly managing taxpayer dollars, and Delaware is now on a sound financial footing just 2 years after climbing out of a $400 million budget deficit. Thus, in the state’s latest budget “we set aside $125 million in reserves to guard against budget cuts and tax increases the next time we face an economic downturn,” which is “in addition to the $250 million Rainy Day fund.”
If government spending is allowed to continue growing faster than the state economy, this relatively comfortable state of affairs won’t last long. And to make matters worse, billions of dollars in unfunded obligations (notably post-employment healthcare benefits for state employees) have accumulated that will come due in due course.
In sum, the state has a far bigger fiscal problem than is generally recognized, and the current administration doesn’t seem to be facing up to it.