February 2009

GOVERNOR JACK MARKELL


Expectations are high for Jack Markell as he begins his term as Delaware's Governor. He had bi-partisan support in his election bid and many supporters saw him as an avenue for a new way of doing things in Delaware. There is, now, the expectation of more responsible spending, more transparent government, more accountability, more creative and effective programs, and personnel selected for ability rather than connection.

However, Jack faces an historic budget crisis that overrides every other issue. The State faces a shortfall of $109 million for the current fiscal year, and $600 million for FY 2010–nearly 20% of the entire State budget. Addressing that challenge in his inaugural address, Jack said, "given the magnitude of our financial crisis, cutting waste will not be enough ... we will have to make further, painful sacrifices. That means cutting back on many government functions and services - even some that we all agree are needed."

What that means will be hotly debated. Governor Markell ordered a State-wide audit to identify waste and the Delaware Senate approved a so-called "Mini-Bond Bill," supported by the Governor, that returns $24.5 million left over from past projects to the State's General Fund. Both are only a small start.

Governor Markell faces other issues, as well. Some members of the General Assembly seem bent on interfering with New Castle County's land-use responsibilities, with the latest being opposition to workforce housing. Several bills that would impede economic development await action. Jack Markell brings his well-known experience and accomplishments from both the private and public sectors to the challenges he faces as Governor and he has selected an impressive group to lead the State's offices and departments.

Jack Markell will share his vision for the next four years, from education to healthcare, transportation and the environment, and how he will handle the economic challenges of our time and provide for economic development opportunities

Beverley Baxter

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