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Townsend: Stop patch jobs and address revenue structure

One author of a bipartisan proposal to help tweak Delaware’s stagnant revenue system says the General Assembly needs to act on it next year or face "under investment" in the state.

Factoring in a three percent increase to next year’s budget, state lawmakers face a gap of more than $100 million with less one-time settlement cash to plug any holes after doing just that in June.

The plan would adjust certain tax rates up or down in a neutral way to make it more responsive to economic growth.

State Sen. Bryan Townsend (D-Newark) helped draft the plan and says he’ll be concerned if the General Assembly doesn’t act on the recommendations next year.

“I think there has been sort of this culture of patch jobs that seems to have taken hold in the past couple years. I’ve only been there for the past two-and-a-half years, but be that as it may, we’ve really got to come together and kind of transcend that,” Townsend said.

Corporate taxes and cash from casinos and unclaimed property ushered in years of tax surpluses, something he says is now catching up with state government.

“Because of that, Delaware wasn’t used to having to have kind of a more small business friendly, entrepreneurial-type culture," said Townsend. "I think we were able to postpone a lot of difficult revenue conversations not only because of the jobs, but also again because of these major revenue sources that we kept finding over time.”

State lawmakers will get their first glimpse of next year's revenue forecast in September.

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