Governor John Carney delivered his annual State of the State Address to a joint session of the General Assembly in the House of Representatives Thursday afternoon.
The State of the State broadly outlined the Carney Administration’s accomplishments thus far, and provided a peek at the governor’s legislative priorities and other goals for 2020.
The governor briefly re-capped proposals he made earlier this week which seek to dedicate a combined $100 million in one-time spending in the upcoming Fiscal Year 2021 capital budget.
Half the total would be dedicated to water improvement projects statewide, with the remaining $50 million targeted to build one new school in Wilmington and conduct major renovations to two others in the city.
The governor teased his proposed budget presentation next week, saying his administration would propose $50 million in capital investments to “further strengthen our economic infrastructure.”
While he noted in his speech that Delaware small businesses are “the engine of our economic growth,” the governor did not mention any new initiatives to help such enterprises succeed. He did however note his intention to expand the EDGE grant program, which provides selected small businesses with state grants to grow and innovate.
House Minority Whip Tim Dukes said he was glad the governor noted the importance of small businesses to Delaware’s economy, but was disappointed there were no new proposals to help them succeed.
“We’ve got to do more things for small business, look at tax incentives that’s going to help them want to grow their business and develop,” Rep. Dukes explained. “We have to continue on that path and make sure that we’re doing what we can legislatively to provide an atmosphere where small business wants to grow.”
The governor also used his address to call for legislative support for Senate Bill 70 – a.k.a. the Delaware Large Capacity Magazine Prohibition Act of 2019 – currently pending action in the Senate Executive Committee.
The legislation seeks to ban firearms’ magazines with a capacity of more than 15 rounds of ammunition. Gun owners say the threshold is arbitrary, noting many types of common firearms are manufactured with standard magazines exceeding the proposed limit.
House Minority Leader Danny Short said the governor needs to shift his focus.
“We need to focus on folks that are using guns and committing crimes and the penalities should be stiff,” Rep. Short said. “[The penalties] should be not pled, and they should be on the record, and we should know that if you commit a crime with a gun at any time that’s going to stay on your record forever so our law enforcement know who these trouble makers are.”
Some of the details lacking in the State of the State Address will be provided next Thursday when Gov. Carney unveils his proposed state operating budget and capital budget.