So remember that budgets are choices, and those choices tell us what our priorities really are?
Fresh off announcing last week that Delaware needs $80 million in new taxes, Governor Jack Markell now discovers that there will be an additional $21.3 million available from unanticipated tax revenue.
How does the Governor recommend we spend it?
Stopping massive lay-offs in our public schools? No.
Funding health care coverage for more poor children? No.
Increased enforcement of Delaware's environmental regulations? No.
Nah, none of that kind of stuff.
Instead, Governor Markell wants to spend $8 million bailing out Delaware casinos, plus
In addition to the casino proposal, Visalli also proposed spending $6.9 million of the new money on road projects, $10 million on a new shipping crane and other infrastructure at the Port of Wilmington and $8.7 million on minor capital projects for schools and state agencies.
The administration also proposed returning $7.8 million to state programs for open space and farmland preservation, which had been cut in the governor’s recommended .The funny part about all of this is how Markell has just shot Speaker Pistol Pete Schwarzkopf in the back.
Remember this from last week, when the Governor's boy in the House said ABSOLUTELY NOT to a casino bail-out?
House Speaker Pete Schwartzkopf said casino executives lobbying for a tax cut are "out of luck" this year, despite threats of layoffs.
Executives from Dover Downs Gaming & Entertainment Inc., one of Dover's largest employers, have been meeting with lawmakers to request a tax break before the end of the session on June 30.
Schwartzkopf said the state's $3.7 billion budget depends on revenues from casinos, which could be dramatically affected if lawmakers alter tax rates.
"We got a budget done," Schwartzkopf said, noting that the General Assembly's budget-writing Joint Finance committee has completed markup of Gov. Jack Markell's budget. "You don't go back and open it back up."
Rule One of Delaware politics these days: it is more dangerous to be the Governor's friend than to be his enemy.
Rule Two: while the dagger is in Pete's back, don't worry about it because the Governor's captive newspaper will never run a line like, "At complete odds with what the Speaker of the House assured voters last week, the Governor ..."