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May 2, 2003     Cape Gazette
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May 2, 2003
 

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18 - CAPE QAZETTE, Friday, May 2 - May 8, 2003 Gov. Minner discusses budget issues with resort chamber By Karl Chalabala Gov. Ruth Ann Minner ad- dressed the Rehoboth Beach- Dewey Beach Chamber of Com- merce with her proposed fiscal year (FY) 2004 budget April 23. Minner faces a $300 million deficit this year. Her proposed budget includes $155 million in budget cuts and $145 million in additional tax revenue. "The National Board of Gover- nors will tell you we are facing the worst recession since World War II,'" she said. "States have cut over $100 billion total." Minner said she did not want to cut pro- grams that benefit the poor, elder- ly or children. Her proposed budget includes a $20 million Bond Bill to fix state roads damaged by the intense winter storms, a new motor vehi- cle lane at the Department of Mo- tor Vehicles (DMV) in George- town and construction of the new bridge over the Indian River Inlet. "We have to work in that direc- tion," Minner said. "It is impor- tant to Sussex County." She also proposed $600,000 to subsidize farmers who purchase crop insurance. With three of the last four years being dry, includ- ing last year's severe drought, crop insurance will protect farm- ers whose harvest fails. "We have heard of saving farmland for years, but what good is saving farmland if there are no farmers left to till it?" she asked. For FY 2003 Minner made $200 million in cuts. Her fiscal year 2004 budget cuts come in the form of structural changes within the government. "It is very diffieult to make cuts," Minner said. "There are no easy cuts and each budget cut is more difficult than the last." The structural changes include elimination of 1 non-critical staff positions. Critical staff positions include prison guards and psychi- atric hospital nurses. Minner pro- DNREC Continued from page 17 vestigation and has not decided what, if any charges will be filed. "More than likely we will seek some type of restoration," said Herr. Even though Wien said he does- Karl Chalabala photo "When looking at state problems, people have a tendency not to notice the lower two coun- ties," Gov. RuthAnn Minner said at the Rehoboth Beach-Dewey Beach Chamber of Commerce Meeting April 23. Minner shared her fiscal year 2004 proposed budget with Chamber of Com- merce members. Several budget proposals directly benefit Sussex County. poses to extend the, current gov- ernment hiring freeze - making current positions that are vacant permanently vacant. Also, man- dated expenses for Homeland Se- curity and other national security issues raised total costs. "We have met our obligations, but very seriously, it has not been easy," she said. Proposed tax increases include a 17 percent raise incorporate fees and taxes, the first increase : since 1991. Delaware is unique .: because of the number of compa- " nes incorlmted here due tolegal :" and tax advantages The majority of those companies' physical loca- tion is omewhere else. The 17 percent raise amounm m $89 mil- lion in revenue. "We import tax money," she said. Minner also proposed raising cigarette taxes from 24 cents to 50 can't afford all that stuff," he said. "Funny how big corporations who have unlimited funds seem to al- ways work something out with them. While we need someone to protect the environment, Moyer is over exuberant. I love the fact that I have hundreds of birds out here - that's why I moved here in the in'st place. DNREC wants to make n't agree with DNREC, he will everything fit into a cookie cutter abide by the agency's decision, m01d but Mother Nature doesn't ,'It's hard for an individual to do work like that-each case is differ- battle with DNREC because I ent." . J l g IBilaGENENT.UPTO fl114rkrf3 frmey ot .hpetasam.Abt.. g F STATEmlwMTOmVICE - cents per pack. .Surrounding state cigarette taxes are $I per pack. Last year cigarette tax collection increased 18 percent. "We may lose money, I was advised," Min- ner said. "People may quit, teenagers may not start, but that money I am willing to lose." Minner still faces political flak due to her bill that outlawed pub- lic smoking in Delaware. Minner's proposed budget also de-couples the state estate tax from the federal estate tax onto which it is currently piggy- backed. President Bush made lowering estate taxes a priority of his economic stimulus program. "If the fed makes a cut, we take a cut," she said. Her proposed budget exempts estates of up to $1.5 million this year, from $1 million previously, with an in- crease to $2 million in estate ex- emption in 2006. Minner also proposed to increase casino taxes but allow them longer operating hours to make them more compet- itive. In 2004 and 2005 Minner said she will work to make govern- ment more efficient. Keeping the state's triple A bond rating in spite of the recession will alSO be a pri- ority. "Delaware is the National Chamber of Commerce's number one state," she said. ''The bond rating is important to the counties and municipalities." Triple A bond rating is the best a state can have - meaning it receives the lowest interest rate on borrowed money. Minner said state economists conferred with her about the re- cession, advising her that it will take a few years to pull out of it, barring another outbreak like e war with Iraq. "Delaware was one of the last states to see the economic down- turn," she said. "It may be the last state to see the upturn..There are no quick fixes." eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeaeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeoeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee - i Movingforward Planningahead :': o On Historic Guidelines - "I believe wholeheartedly :" in preserving the historic nature and character of Lewes, I favor an historic :" ": preservation program that satisfies defined publicly recognized historic " : objectives - a program, which is legally defensible and not subjective." .." •  i On Fiscal Matters- "I believe in taking a proactive stance i i : : on revenue management. A bond issue has to be considered and acted  upon quickly while interest rates are favorable." t  . On the Board of Public Works-"0000mwo,k for better and more open communications between the City Council. the BPW and the citizens of Lewes." On Saturday, May !0 Re-Elect Stephanie Tsantes, -Lewes City • Co'uncOil, • • o• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • oee• oe •e ee ee • • • • • • • • • • • • • • e• • •e•'• • • • e'e• 6 • • • • • • • • e • • • • • •e ee • • •• • • •