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Center for Economic Policy & Analysis

Thanks Pete!

Dr. John E. Stapleford, Director | 6/11/2020

Delaware, like the nation, has experimented with two approaches to governance. Governor Pete DuPont believed that lower taxes and deregulation encouraged entrepreneurship and hard work. Governors Markell and Carney believe that government spending and regulations hold the key to a fair and prosperous society.
What does the data say?
A simple approach is to compare the economic performance of Delaware under eight years of Pete DuPont (1977-85) to eight years under Markell-Carney (2011-19).  Both eight-year periods came on the heels of serious recessions (1973-75 and 2007-08).
The following are the total percent changes in various economic factors over the two eight-year periods.
      Dupont (1977-1985)       vs.       Markell-Carney (2011-2019)
  1. Personal income
up 105%
              up 33%
  1. Per capita income
                up   98%
              up 24%
  1. Wage & salary employment
                up  19%
              up 10%
  1. Total earnings by place of work
up 102%
              up 26%
  1. Total wages and salaries
                up  99%
              up 30%
  1. Proprietor’s income
                up  67%
              up   6%
  1. Average wage
                up  61%
              up 13%
  1. Poverty rate
average 11.8%
            average 11.1%
(Sources:  U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, U.S. Census)
The differences in economic performance between the two eight-year periods is startling. While the nation’s economy slowed down during the second eight years, since 2008 Delaware’s economy has lagged behind the nation.
During his eight years, Governor DuPont reduced taxes on Gross Receipts, Utilities, and Personal Income (three times) and raised taxes on Corporate Franchise and Corporate Income. In 1981 Governor DuPont signed the Delaware Financial Center Development Act that deregulated credit card interest rates and led to over 30,000 new jobs in Delaware.
During the eight years of Governors Markell-Carney taxes were raised on alcohol, Gross Receipts (net), cigarettes and tobacco, Corporate Franchise, Limited Partnership, Real Estate Transfers and Personal Income (net), the Estate Tax was reinstated, and the tax on Utilities reduced.
According to the Mercatus Center, the 2019 Delaware Administrative Code contains 104,562 restrictions and 6.7 million words.


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