Last night in Newark around 30 people came together to talk with Rep. Paul Baumbach about the issues with Delaware’s recently completed budget and what we can do from here. Click here for the story by Tom Lehman on WDEL to see more quotes from Rep. Baumbach and Sen. Townsend at the event.
Rep. Baumbach explained how this year Delaware faced a $60 million budget shortfall, and next year’s budget faces a projected gap of $160 million. He said we had 3 choices: 1. Make only cuts to the budget, 2. Raise revenues, and 3. A mix of cuts and revenue increases.
Rep. Baumbach said “With a $160 million hole, there is no doubt in my mind that we need additional revenues.”
Rep. Baumbach said in 2009 the General Assembly faced a big budget shortfall, but they had more ways to cut down expenses since there had been very few cuts before that year. However, every year since 2009, Delaware has been trimming away and it’s harder and harder to find appropriate areas to cut. So he said we have to raise some revenues in order to maintain all the programs and projects we all care for.
Rep. Baumbach said compared to other states in our region, we have much lower tax rates, so we should consider adding tax brackets for those earning $125,000 and $250,000 a year. Maryland’s top tax bracket is $250,000, and New Jersey’s is $500,000.
“Bringing it up to the $125,000 or $250,000 range is fair and is well in line with what our neighbors are doing,” he said.
After Rep. Baumbach’s presentation and Q&A we had breakout groups planning possibilities that can boost the economy and address the budget shortfall. We had groups talk about 1. Fair Wages and Benefits, 2. Taxing Concentrated Wealth, and 3. Public Investment to Spur Job Growth.
We have much work ahead to propel a fair and equitable budget, so we are lucky to have such a strong group of support!
Click here for more photos.