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They say cut spending first. 23 June, 2009

Posted by David Anderson in Budget, State, Tax Hikes.
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Thomas H. Kovach, House of Representatives
Thomas.Kovach@state.de.us

North Wilmington Republican Representatives Tom Kovach, Greg Lavelle, and Debbie
Hudson joined together today to call on the Legislature to reject increases in the personal
income tax and short-sighted state employee pay cuts, instead promoting meaningful and
sustainable reductions in state expenses.

Representative Lavelle (R-Sharpley) said that, “We recognize that we must make difficult
decisions in order to move Delaware beyond this current budget crisis. Balancing the
budget on the back of Delaware’s working families through the administration’s
proposed tax increases is simply unacceptable. The budget proposals offered by the
Democrats are too quick to increase the tax burden and fall far short of the necessary,
sustained and sustainable cuts in state government. Without these changes, tax
increases like we are seeing now will become an annual event.”

The Legislators argue that state government needs to operate in a fashion more like that
of the private sector. According to Representative Kovach (R-Brandywine East), “We
must address the government’s economic problems in the same fiscally responsible
manner that the private sector does. This means we must not raise what we charge our
customers, but we must cut staff and spending to balance the budget, while keeping the
necessary, good employees at their current pay.”

The Legislators said that the current proposal of state employee salary reductions simply
masks the real problem: an oversized and unsustainable state government.
“The alleged savings on a 2.5% state employee pay cut result in approximately $30
million for the state and will last for one year,” said Representative Hudson (RFairthorne).
“Not only is this reduction significantly less than 1% of the state’s operating
budget, the Democrats now seeking to impose this pay cut will surely seek to avoid the
same cut in the upcoming election-year. The resulting shortfall will have to be paid for
with yet another increase in personal income tax for the majority of Delawareans.” In
their battle against irresponsible taxes, all three agreed that they will also fight to put a
one-year “sunset” to any Democratic imposed tax increase—a proposal the Democrats
have already rejected.

“The tax increases pushed by the Democrats shift the burden from the state to Delaware’s families and small businesses,” said Rep. Kovach. “The proposed personal income tax increases, which will result in an additional burden on working-class families and individuals making over $50,000, is a terrible idea at a time when many are trying their best just to make ends meet. Coupled with the 25% property tax increase imposed by New Castle County, these increases will be unbearable to the average citizen.”
Republican-offered solutions, such as the elimination of redundant school administrative
positions, cutting the Community Transportation Fund, and a temporary reduction in the
prevailing wage paid by the state to contractors (often from out-of-state), have been
largely ignored by the administration. Other possibilities include exploring a tax amnesty
program and offering an efficiency rewards program.

“Quite simply, we must require that the state reduce the size and expense of government
and avoid the placing the burden of oversized and bloated state government on the
taxpayers,” said Rep. Kovach. “There are plenty of solutions that have been left off the
table, contrary to what the Governor and House Democrats have claimed,” said Rep.
Hudson.

Rep Lavelle, Hudson, and Kovach stand firm together, “We remain opposed to all tax
increases until the government can certify that it has taken all immediately practical
actions to reduce waste and inefficiency. At this point, we are not even close.”

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