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Steps to Freedom Under Janus

With the U.S. Supreme Court decision Janus v. AFSCME, union memberships for government employees is no longer a mandatory condition of employment. This opens the door for current government union members to opt out of their membership. The process for leaving a public employee union is straightforward. There are two websites that will generate the letters required for both the union and your employer. Both the organizations providing the websites, the National Right To Work Foundation and the Mackinac Center, have decades of experience with labor law. [read more]

How the Prevailing Wage Law Stopped Progress

The prevailing wage law in Delaware showed its ugly side as the New Castle County Council, with encouragement from County Executive Tom Gordon, voted down a project by the Friends of Rockwood (the Rockwood Museum) to do remodeling on the site because they were not going to pay the "prevailing wage". Read more on the prevailing wage and what it means for Delawareans in Dr. Stapleford's article. [read more]

Happy Holidays! Your Gift: Higher Taxes and Crime

In a series of analyses CRI has argued the New Castle County (NCC) government is facing a serious fiscal crisis. This crisis was precipitated by the passage in 1998 of the anti-growth and anti-economic development Uniform Development Code (UDC). The recent recession has made things worse. Within just a few years after enactment of the UDC employment in NCC flat-lined and residential building permits nose dived. [read more]

Delaware on the Dole

The University of Delaware, in conjunction with the National Renewable Energy Lab, is seeking a grant from a $180 million fund established by the U. S. Department of Energy for a wind turbine research project to be built off the coast of Delaware. The effort has the full support of Delaware's congressional delegation, the Markell Administration, and the tacit agreement of Delmarva Power to buy the electrical power output from the project, albeit it must be "competitively" priced. [read more]

Lessons learned from Fisker Motors

Since Delaware has had 15 consecutive years of conservative governors followed by 18 years of progressive governors, it is an interesting case study. Do the differences in the governance philosophies have consequences for Delaware's economy? [read more]

Delaware's economy and governance

Since Delaware has had 15 consecutive years of conservative governors followed by 18 years of progressive governors, it is an interesting case study. Do the differences in the governance philosophies have consequences for Delaware's economy? [read more]

Delaware's Filthy Rich

The mantra of President Obama is to raise taxes on the rich rather than cut the size of government. In Delaware, the governor, supported by the legislature, has already done this. Effective January 1, 2010 the top marginal tax rate applied to personal income of $60,000 or more was raised from almost 6% to almost 7%, and there have been no significant cuts in state government. [read more]

Kicking Delaware businesses when they are down

The state of Delaware's gross receipt tax is levied against total business income, regardless of whether a firm makes a profit or not. Following the onset of the recent recession, one of the state's answers to falling revenues was to twice raise the gross receipt tax; first, an increase of 25% in January of 2009 and then another jump of 8% in January of 2010. [read more]

Supplemental Pay in Delaware State Government: Benign Neglect?

As the failed gubernatorial recall in Wisconsin and other recent referendums evidence, citizens are waking up to the fact that politicians have made pension commitments for public employees that can't be sustained. Delawareans should be equally concerned about the overuse of supplemental pay by the state. [read more]

What if Delaware government was TABORed?

The Joint Finance Committee (JFC) of the Delaware legislature has proposed a 1% hike in the salaries of all state employees...including public education, colleges and universities, and retiree pensions. The estimated $21 million addition to the FY 2013 expenditures (July 1, 2012 to June 30, 2013) flies in the face of the state's fiscal realities. [read more]

The Delaware JFC: Clueless?

The Joint Finance Committee (JFC) of the Delaware legislature has proposed a 1% hike in the salaries of all state employees...including public education, colleges and universities, and retiree pensions. The estimated $21 million addition to the FY 2013 expenditures (July 1, 2012 to June 30, 2013) flies in the face of the state's fiscal realities. [read more]

Delaware's Economy: Four Years in the Wilderness

The April, 2012 labor market data for Delaware has just been released and the numbers are not encouraging. [read more]

Delaware Politicians Do What the Unions Tell Them

With the closure of the GM and Chrysler automobile plants, the unions' share of employment in Delaware has fallen below the national average. But the remaining unions, through their supply of campaign funds, volunteers and votes have the Governor and most of the legislature in their pockets. Union management is willing to disadvantage Delaware's citizens in order to advantage themselves. [read more]

The State is Charitable with Your Money

The Caesar Rodney Institute has updated its Transparency Delaware website with state payroll and vendor data through 2010. Analysis of the pattern of the vendor transactions for 2010 is instructive. [read more]

The Latest State Tax Rankings

The Tax Foundation has just released its 2012 Facts and Figures on state finances. The results are below in order of Delaware's ranking among all the states. [read more]

Fiscal Prisoners

The Caesar Rodney Institute has updated its Transparency Delaware website with state payroll and vendor data through 2010. A quick glance at the data shows that there will be a great deal to consider. Given the patterns uncovered by the Delaware News Journal in the past, CRI looked at "overtime" pay and "other" pay in the Delaware Department of Corrections in 2010. ("Other" pay includes more than 100 categories, the most important of which are holiday pay, shift differentials, call back pay, and sick day buyouts.) While half of the DOC's employees collected just their salary, 50% received overtime pay in 2010. Of those, 59 employees earned overtime that exceeded 100% of their salaries, plus considerable "other" pay. [read more]

Delaware DHSS working overtime for taxpayers

The Caesar Rodney Institute has updated its Transparent Delaware website with state payroll and vendor data through 2010. A quick glance at the data shows that there will be a great deal to consider. [read more]

Another step for government transparency

Have you ever wondered which state employee receives the most compensation? (Orlando George with $454,230 in 2010...more than two and a half times what the Governor is paid. George has been paid more than $1.6 million over the past four years.) What about use of overtime and other pay by state employees? (A staff person in Health and Social Services had a salary of $58,000 in 2010 and earned an additional $132,000 in overtime and other pay.) Are you surprised that the University of Delaware received $10,000,000 as a vendor to the Delaware Department of Education in 2010? Do you know what your legislator is being paid? [read more]

And Baby Makes Two

The latest data from the Center for Disease Control on out-of-wedlock births does not bode well for Delaware. During 2009 nearly 48% of all the births in the First State were to unwed mothers. [read more]

A beautiful day in the neighborhood

The DuPont Co just received a state grant for $920,000 for a prototype organic LED plant at Stine-Haskell Research Center in Newark. The money couldn't come at a better time. DuPont just announced a 20% increase in sales in 2011 for a total of $38 billion. [read more]

Delaware State of the State Report 2012: By the numbers

Following are the changes in various state of Delaware performance measures since Governor Markell took office. [read more]

Does Amazon need $7.5 million from taxpayers?

The state of Delaware has secured an agreement by on-line behemoth Amazon to locate a regional fulfillment center near Middletown in exchange for $7.5 million of state grants and road construction. Is this a good deal? No or yes? [read more]

"Green" Premium takes off in 2012

Delaware electric utility bills will be $38 million higher than necessary in 2012 to pay the premium for state mandated "green" energy programs. [read more]

Income and Taxes: An Interesting Look

The latest IRS data on personal income taxes collected from Delaware residents is for 2009. Examining the data is instructive. [read more]

Accountants Weigh-In on Delaware's Debt

A recent report by the Institute for Truth in Accounting confirms what Caesar Rodney Institute has been saying about the seriousness of Delaware's state government debt. The state has accumulated bills of $8.6 billion. [read more]

Now this certainly has gone well

Do we really need more Federal debt spending to "help" the U.S. economy? [read more]

A Tale of Two Societies

Any discussion of job creation in Delaware must start with the recognition of the existence of the two distinct societies in Delaware: persons with limited education (a high school degree or less) and persons with ample education (a college degree or more). The limited education folks are being hammered by the current economy while the ample education crowd barely knows there has been a recession. The ample education crowd dominates policy decision making and that is to the distinct disadvantage of the limited education folks. [read more]

It's Time to End the Riverdance

Wilmington's Riverfront Development Corporation (RDC) received $3.5 million through the state's capital budget in July, bringing the taxpayers' total investment in the riverfront since 1995 to over $280 million. Now, starting with a $2 million request, the RDC is proposing that taxpayers pick up as much as one-third of the tab for a $39 million hotel at the Riverfront's public entrance. [read more]

State Loans and Grants are Immaterial

Under Governor Markell the Delaware Economic Development Strategic Fund has gone wild. Annual loans and grants from the Fund are up almost three fold. Why the flurry of activity? Will it pay off? [read more]

Delaware's Prevailing Wage: A Long History of Taxpayer Abuse

In March of this year, Caesar Rodney Institute's Center for Economic Policy and Analysis released a technical study of the methodology behind Delaware's prevailing wage system. With regard to the prevailing wage (PW) the study documented that: a) the methodology used by the Department of Labor was seriously flawed, b) the PW was biased toward union collective bargaining wage rates, and c) the PW was 40% above the market wage for experienced construction workers. [read more]

Social Security Reform

A comprehensive overview of the possible reforms for the social security system from the Congressional Research Service. [read more]

This Tab is for You Kids!

The latest report from the nonprofit State Budget Solutions (SBS) estimates Delaware's outstanding debt to be $14.4 billion. This is four times the state's current general operating budget of $3.6 billion. [read more]

A State budget deficit already?!

The Delaware Economic and Financial Advisory Committee (DEFAC) met on September 19th and the news isn't encouraging. [read more]

FOIA: Thanks to the Governor and the Legislature!

As documented by the Caesar Rodney Institute using U.S. Department of Justice data on convictions of state and local public officials, corruption is a growing problem in Delaware. The historical and research evidence is clear that corruption undermines economic growth. The Governor through an executive order and the legislature through a recent bill have taken a huge step forward to reducing government corruption in the First State. [read more]

Response to DE Budget Director Concerning Pension Fund

It was very helpful to receive the comments in the News Journal of Delaware OMB director, Ann S. Visalli, regarding the unfunded retiree benefits of government employees. My response follows. [read more]

The Error Ridden Unemployment Insurance System

As evidenced by recently released data from the U.S. Department of Labor, Delaware is part of a nationwide carelessness in the administration of unemployment insurance benefits. [read more]

Rising tax burden driving wealthy from Delaware

The most recent data from the Tax Foundation shows that Delaware is driving out wealthy residents by raising its state and local tax burden. [read more]

Repatriation: Set the Cash Balances Free!

Again and again and again politicians have to learn that raising taxes above a reasonable level results in less tax revenue by encouraging tax avoidance. The current tax rate of 35% on the repatriated income of the foreign operations of U.S. firms, the highest rate in the developed world, is a classic example. [read more]

The State's Benefit Bonanza: How Deep is the Hole?

The Delaware Public Employees' Retirement System is what you have dreamed about but are unlikely to ever enjoy. DPERS is a "defined benefit plan" which means that participants' retirement benefits are paid out "regardless of market events." State government retirees are sheltered from the roller coaster of the financial markets by Delaware taxpayers. [read more]

Staring into an Abyss

The latest Gallup Economic Confidence Index (ECI) numbers for Delaware are stark. Every week Gallup conducts a nationwide survey of consumers. The ECI is based on two questions: the first asking consumers to rate their perceptions of current economic conditions as "excellent," "good," "only fair," or "poor," and the second asking them whether economic conditions in the country are "getting better" or "getting worse." [read more]

Rising tax burden drives wealthy households from Delaware

The evidence is clear that higher state and local tax burdens drive wealthy households from states. Delaware's rising tax burden is problematic. [read more]

Stimulus Smoke and Mirrors

Administration economists and officials keep touting the multiplier effects from additional government spending. Extended unemployment benefits generate more than a dollar's worth of activity in the economy. More agricultural subsidies will pump up economic growth. This is macroeconomic smoke and mirrors. Why? [read more]

Labor power and the Delaware taxpayer

State governments vary in the degree to which they favor organized labor over taxpayers. The latest research from the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) documents that Delaware government has adopted policies that give priority to unions over the interests of Delaware's citizens. [read more]

Delaware: A State in Denial

The latest data on state to state migration confirms that folks vote rationally with their feet and that Delaware legislators are in denial about this fact. Census data shows that two-thirds of the net migrants into Delaware from 2007-09 came from just four states: New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and Massachusetts. Not surprisingly, these states have among the highest tax burdens, strong unions, and sluggish economies. Two-thirds of the net out-migrants from Delaware went to five states: North Carolina, Florida, South Carolina, Kentucky and Tennessee. All the states have comparatively low tax burdens, four are right to work, and these four have higher growth economies. [read more]

S&P: the emperor has no clothes!

Friday August 5, 2011 will likely be remembered as "the NEW Black Friday" or "THE" Black Friday. On that day, after markets closed, Standard and Poor's (S&P) fulfilled its previous warning and downgraded the sovereign credit rating of the USA to AA+ from the fifty-years-old AAA. [read more]

The air is out of the Delaware economy

After two decades of stellar performance, Delaware's economy moved in reverse during the most recent decade, and the near term outlook is subpar. A DECADE OF DECLINE The major measures of performance for the Delaware economy from 2000 through 2010 are grim. Compared to a median annual growth in total employment of 2.5% during the 1990s, Delaware crept along at 0.4% during 2000-10. If government jobs are excluded, total employment in Delaware actually retreated -5.4%. Similarly, with government transfer payments excluded (e.g., Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid), inflation-adjusted per capita personal income dropped -7.6% and output per capita declined. WHAT ABOUT RIGHT NOW? [read more]

Transportation Trust Task Force Report

The recently released Transportation Trust Fund Task Force report projects a shortfall of $3.7 billion between spending and revenues over the coming ten years. The danger of not dealing with the shortfall is deterioration in Delaware's transportation infrastructure and the resulting negative consequences for the state's economy. [read more]

Ohio Shows the Way on Death Tax Repeal

Ohio Gov. John Kasich made good on a major campaign promise by killing the state's death tax and eliminating an $8 Billion deficit in the lastest fiscal budget. [read more]

This ain't your father's chamber of commerce!

The DSCC is still an advocate for Delaware business, recently opposing a New Castle County surcharge on building permits for fire service and an increase in the "voluntary" school assessment fee cap to be paid by developers. But, the DSCC seems less committed to market solutions today and more likely to recommend "public-private" partnerships. What has happened? [read more]

The Wrong Waiver

Delaware's insurance commissioner has requested a waiver of the Federal rule requiring health insurers to spend 80 percent of each premium dollar on medical care. This is the wrong waiver. [read more]

The Governor's plans for the taxpayers, surplus

With the economic recovery underway in Delaware projected state government revenues are running ahead of projected expenditures for this fiscal year (FY 2011) and next (FY 2012). At this time, according to DEFAC, the expected surplus will be $156 million for FY-11 and another $218 million for FY-12. Naturally everyone in Dover has ideas for spending these surpluses, including the Governor. [read more]


The "gray wave" is hitting Delaware as the leading edge of the baby boomers reached 65 in 2010. Born between 1946 and 1964, the baby boomers have a long history of reshaping America. The boomers have sent shock waves through the economy, through state and local government, and through the world of nonprofit organizations. This report evaluates the impact of the coming "gray wave". [read more]

The South rises again?

The latest data from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis shows that the south is rising again in Delaware. Due to more restrictive land use regulations in New Castle County (NCC) and the migration of retirees into Sussex County, the past 20 years has seen NCC's share of the state's population fall from 67% to 60% as Sussex's share rose from 17% to 22%. These population changes have shifted the locus of economic action in the state. [read more]

Is the Strategic Fund strategic?

Over the past 10 fiscal years the Delaware Economic Development Office's Delaware Strategic Fund has awarded over $201 million to firms and organizations in Delaware. Over $126 million of the awards have been outright grants, while $38 million has been in the form of loans, almost $34 million in convertible loans, and the remainder in preventure and equity funding. Has there been a logic to this largess? The answer is mixed. [read more]

Is DELDOT growing in the wrong places?

DELDOT's budget has increased faster than inflation over the past five years. So why has its poor performance been in the news recently? [read more]

Should affluent seniors be full taxpaying citizens?

Today's seniors on average have more income and wealth than any previous group of elderly. Should those senior households who can afford to pay taxes get a discount relative to non-senior households with the same income? [read more]


Are union rates over represented in determining Delaware's prevailing wage rates? Is there alternative Federal data that would more accurately represent construction-market wage rates in Delaware? Would this save the Delaware Department of Labor (DDoL) the expense of compiling and generating annual prevailing wage rates? This report examines and answers these questions, and suggests a more efficient determination of Delaware's prevailing wage rates. [read more]

Delaware's housing market remains grim

Demand is still weak in Delaware's housing market. [read more]

Is Delaware a taker or a maker?

Hot in the news recently is the claim that the U.S. has become a nation of takers, not makers. The claim is based primarily on the fact that today in America there are nearly twice as many people working for the government than in manufacturing. Has Delaware also become a taker rather than a maker? The answer is mixed. [read more]

Is Standard & Poor's blowing smoke?

Standard & Poor's recently lowered the U.S. credit outlook to "negative" for the first time since the credit rating company launched in 1860. Is S&P simply blowing smoke? [read more]
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