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Call to Action: Budget Crisis and Our Solution

DSEA Members,

There are less than four days left this session and the State of Delaware is still facing serious budget issues. Yet again, state workers find themselves in the cross hairs of budget cuts. 

Drastic across the board cuts have already been proposed, and three weeks ago JFC made an additional $33 million in cuts that will affect each and every one of our members. And even after all of this, a budget hole still exists. Yesterday, the Delaware Economic Financial Advisory Council, reported only $27.4 million in total additional revenue for FY 17 and FY 18. Not enough to cover deficit estimates ranging from $78 million to $88 million. But, there is a better option. And that is why we are reaching out to you today. 

The solution: Revenue, not cuts. 

DSEA is urging you to contact your legislators and tell them to vote YES on HB 240 and HB 242. Combined, these bills will raise an estimated $80.6 million for fiscal year 2018, and $219 million for fiscal year 2019.

Visit the following link to email or call your legislator:  Support Revenue, Not Cuts.

HB 240 raises age-based exclusion from 60 to 65 over a 5 year period, and minimally raises each income bracket by .15% to .4%. However, the crux and the progressivity of this proposal are found in the elimination of itemized deductions and the increase in the standard deduction for tax payers by 54%. The bill also adds an additional tax bracket for households earning $150,000 and above. 

63% of Delaware residents use the standard deduction and do not itemize. So, the vast majority of the revenue package will come from high income earners, and both residents and non-residents who itemize their tax deductions. Lower and middle income taxpayers who use the standard deduction will see either a tax cut or a very modest tax increase of less than $1 per week. This is due to the 54% increase in the standard deduction. 

HB 242 will ensure regional tax parity on cigarettes, it will tax all tobacco like products equally, but most importantly, HB 242 will reduce long term health care costs by increasing a key disincentive to smoking. 

We cannot underestimate the severity of this situation.  Without additional revenue, the General Assembly will undoubtedly turn their attention to items such as step increases and health benefits in order to carve out the additional $88 million still needing to be trimmed.  

State employees cannot afford to stay silent.  Speak up now and let your legislators know that you support HB 240 and HB 242, and you expect them to do the same.

In Solidarity, 
Frederika Jenner
DSEA President