The Delaware Business Roundtable presented its priorities to further promote economic growth and prosperity in Delaware:
DE in 6: Delaware’s onerous development and permitting process is a major barrier to both business attraction and expansion. “DE in 6” is the proposed name of an effort to reduce the development and permitting time frame from its present length of nearly two years down to as close to six months as possible. This will allow Delaware locations to be considered by national site selectors for businesses to locate facilities and create jobs. Following up on the economic development conference sponsored by the Delaware Prosperity Partnership and the State Chamber of Commerce, eight to 10 business organizations from all three counties expressed an interest in creating a coalition to bring this project to life, with the Roundtable leading the effort.
Sustainable State Finances: Consistent with its long-held interest in sustainable state finances, the Roundtable will work to raise the level of debate regarding the need for a long-term approach to state finances. While HB 460, the budget smoothing legislation, failed to pass the General Assembly during the last session, Governor Carney has signed an Executive Order holding his administration accountable to the basic tenets of that proposed legislation. As part of how we communicate on this issue, the Roundtable will work with the State Chamber to identify the best ways to communicate a pro-growth message. Given the results of the last election, the business community’s legislative agenda will be more challenging than ever and it is essential that we assert our views effectively in an increasingly hostile environment.
Support Meaningful Change in Public Education: In coordination with DBREC, the Roundtable will advocate for meaningful change in public education, which can be achieved only by a major revision to the state’s education funding mechanism. The present per-pupil funding process is archaic and unfair to those with special learning needs. We will advocate for an education funding system that is characterized by transparency, accountability and equality. At the same time, we will continue our strong support for Early Childhood Education and for the Pathways program, which has become a highly successful vehicle for students to fulfill their educational goals and career aspirations. In addition, we will encourage policymakers to more fully appreciate the connection between emerging job opportunities and higher education.
Opioid Impact on Business Community: Like other states across the nation, Delaware is experiencing an opioid crisis. While this crisis is horrific for individuals and families living through it, it also impacts employees in our member companies. Business has a responsibility to ensure it is making available life-saving information that can help employees, and we propose to do so by the creation of an Opioid Awareness Toolkit. We will work with business organizations statewide to make the toolkit available to member companies.
Continued Support the Delaware Prosperity Partnership: Established by legislation in June 2017, the Delaware Prosperity Partnership (DPP) was a specific proposal to create a public-private partnership model for economic development that arose as a result of the Growth Agenda developed by the Roundtable in 2016. DPP is now responsible for a large portion of the activities of the former Delaware Economic Development Office and represents a new way for Delaware to encourage economic growth. Many Roundtable Members are investors in DPP, and the Roundtable will continue to promote and assist DPP and its Board of Directors throughout 2019.