Where are our priorities in Delaware?!?

 

After cutting tens of millions of dollars from education and over $7.5 million from senior citizen services (See Here For Details), we may hand out $2.2 million in corporate welfare to a very profitable corporation (Sallie Mae Giveaway). Sallie Mae does not need our money to remain solvent in Delaware, or to expand their current operations. They want the money so they do not have to cut into their profits, which are in the billions of dollars annually (Sallie Mae Profit Reports). We already have given millions of dollars to this company, and now they want even more when we can least afford it. (For some perspective, this Sallie Mae hand-out is for $2.2 million. Delaware recently killed its state prescription assistance program–on which thousands of elderly Delawareans relied for prescription cost and Medicare Part D premium payment assistance. That program cost $2.5 million per year.)

Over the years, Delaware has given billions of dollars in grants to corporations promising to create jobs here in the First State. However, plaguing these hand-outs is a lack of clawback clauses, which force corporations to return grant money if they fail to meet their obligations under the grant, like bringing a certain number of jobs to the area. Perhaps most notorious in Delaware history is the deal that the Delaware Economic Development Office (DEDO)–which managed and approved corporate hand-outs before Governor Carney created the Division of Small Business, Development, and Tourism–created with Fisker Automotive. Delaware gave Fisker a $21.5 million grant, with no clawback if they went belly-up or failed to create promised jobs. Taxpayers saw nothing for their $21.5 million, and even covered the company’s electric bills at over $400,000.

During recent State budget negotiations, we repeatedly called for a halt on all cuts affecting education and seniors, until there were cuts and regulations in place for the DEDO Strategic Fund used to funnel money to corporations. However, Governor Carney ignored us and created a shiny new council called the Division of Small Business, Development, and Tourism. Reportedly, this council will assume DEDO’s previous functions, with the benefit of being a public-private partnership relying on a 2:1 (public:private) ratio for funding. The State boasts that this partnership will bring a new perspective to expanding economic opportunities in Delaware. However, with this Sallie Mae deal, it seems little has changed, and although Delaware has little money for our schools and our aged, we always have money for corporate welfare.

 

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