Regular readers know I am not a fan of the DE GOP, but this is ridiculous. Here's the headline:
The article blames Republican lawmakers, who are in the minority in both houses of the General Assembly, for the failure of the tax package to receive serious consideration:
Republican lawmakers criticized the proposals this week. Democrats who control strong majorities in both chambers of the General Assembly said they were unwilling to raise taxes without bipartisan support.Really? One wonders why...
House Speaker Pete Schwartzkopf and Majority Leader Valerie Longhurst oppose increasing the gas tax. Schwartzkopf, who represents Rehoboth Beach, also opposed levying a new tax on short-term rental properties. Delaware’s 8-percent rental tax currently only applies to hotels and motels.
Schwartzkopf said he was not willing to hold his members’ “feet to the fire on this one.” Lawmakers have already voted this year to extend several recession-era taxes on individuals and businesses to balance the budget.
“We’d like to put people back to work and we would like to have some of our infrastructure improved. But we’re not shouldering it all,” Schwartzkopf said. “They have to come to the table.”Darn, Pete, I kind of thought the whole purpose of having a majority for your political party in the legislature was to be able enact your agenda.
Now, all of a sudden, you're completely helpless to pass news taxes that you say would improve infrastructure and put people back to work because ... the party that doesn't have enough votes to stop you won't cooperate?
Schwartzkopf said Republicans – whose leaders have been involved in discussions regarding raising taxes and fees for infrastructure projects – were being “disingenuous” in their public statements.
“That’s not working together,” Schwartzkopf said. “That’s not even being polite.”You want disingenuous, Mr. Speaker? How about your comments yesterday on Mike Matthew's Facebook page regarding your ruling that muzzled Rep. Kim Williams when HB 165 was on the floor for debate?
Mike pointed out that you refused to let her introduce the Attorney General's opinion that the Charter School Work Group had possibly been a public body and violated the "open meetings" law.
You then accused him of being dishonest and tried to defend your ruling:
We don't actually know that the group didn't draft the legislation, other than the assertions to that effect by Representative Jacques and other members of a group who met in secret and whose deliberations are not (possibly illegally "not") part of the public record.
Was it germane to discussion of the bill? Of course it was. Earl claimed repeatedly that the bill was a "compromise." But with whom? He and Representative
Short Scott claimed they wrote it together, without input from the work group. Then who did they compromise with?
Then they told us that originally they were trying to include items that had a consensus among the work group--which would (duh) seem to indicate some discussion about legislation.
The reality here is that Pete was worried that the bill that the Governor had instructed him to get passed might be derailed by the ugly truth about its less-than-immaculate conception.
After all, it only passed the House 30-9-1. Allowing Kim to speak about the process of creating this bill would have to have swayed the votes of at least 11 additional representatives to put the bill in serious jeopardy.
But Speaker Schwartzkopf couldn't take that chance.
Just like the News Journal couldn't take the chance that somebody might actually notice that it was a Democratic governor who waited until the last 2 1/2 weeks of the legislative session to try to bull through $80 million in tax increases, and that it was the Democrats in the General Assembly who were unwilling to vote for it.