GOP Lawmakers React To Gov. Carney’s Address

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A few compliments, but also some concerns and criticisms, came Governor John Carney’s way Thursday as Republican legislative leaders reacted to his State of the State Address.

State Senate Minority Leader Gerald Hocker, R-Ocean View, pointed out that he heard nothing mentioned about what would be done to help students make up for lost learning time in classrooms earlier in the COVID-19 pandemic. As a businessman, Hocker is also troubled by Carney’s support of a bill to extend paid family and medical leave into the private sector.

House Minority Leader Danny Short, R-Seaford, said as is typical of many addresses of this type, details were lacking and more specifics would come in the Governor’s budget presentation for Fiscal Year 2023.

“I was here as well as my colleagues when we had an $800-million problem and we raised taxes, mostly particularly around the realty transfer tax. Now we’ve got an $820-million surplus, maybe it’s time to give some of that money back,” Short said.

House Minority Leader Tim Dukes, R-Laurel, was pleased to hear Carney talk about continuing support of farmland preservation, open space and expansion of broadband internet.

Senate Minority Whip Brian Pettyjohn, R-Georgetown, gave Carney credit for not proposing to spend one-time money on new initiatives. “That’s a smart thing to do – you can tell that he came from a finance background. I’m going to give him credit on that,” Pettyjohn said.

Pettyjohn also said he was disappointed in Carney’s support for paid family and medical leave. According to Pettyjohn, it’s already causing issues in schools, when a couple becomes new parents and takes paid leave at the same time and both happen to be teachers.

Delaware’s current indoor mask mandate was left out of the State of the State Address, but answering a question, Pettyjohn said the mandate could be costing the state business, especially near the borders.

“There are people who are adamantly opposed to it, and will take steps to go out of the state and spend their money elsewhere because of that.”

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