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GOP leaders react to Governor's State of the State address

Republican House and Senate leaders held a virtual press conference following Gov. Carney's address

Following the governor’s speech, House and Senate Republicans weighed in, criticizing Carney for not highlighting the struggles of small businesses.

House and Senate Minority leaders say they are disappointed the Governor is backing the paid family leave bill. They call Senate Bill 1 a “job killer.”

Senate Minority Whip Brian Pettyjohn (R-Georgetown) also points to problems schools are having keeping classrooms staffed with paid leave in place for state employees.

"In this small trial that we did for state employees, we’re seeing significant issues with that, so we have to be cognizant of those issues when we’re trying to roll something like this out to the broader business community," he said.

Republican leaders also criticized Carney for reinstating a statewide mask mandate.

Business owner and Senate Minority leader Gerald Hocker (R-Ocean View) said it’s costing him customers.

"I would say at least 40% of the customers now refuse to wear them and we can’t afford to lose business because of a mask mandate that people are just not accepting.  They’ve had enough of it," he said.

They also blamed the mask mandate - as well as the influx of federal assistance ,like the child tax credit, for ongoing staff shortages.

They also touted their own proposals to offer tax relief with surplus revenue.

They did find some common ground with Carney, praising him for pledging more funding to preserve open space and farmland and for his clean water initiatives.

Rebecca Baer comes Delaware Public Media from The Florida Channel in Tallahassee where she covered state government and produced documentary features for the series, Florida Crossroads.