Delaware Public Media

Delawareans pose budget questions to Gov. Carney

Apr 10, 2017

Concerns over the rising healthcare costs dominated Gov. John Carney’s (D) budget town hall meeting Monday night.


About 100 people gathered at State Police Troop 3 near Camden to hear Carney sell his $4.1 billion spending plan.

 

Nearly half of the questions he took centered on how to save money on healthcare costs. The state pays about 90 percent of most employee healthcare costs, with Carney saying that ratio might have to change.

 

Angela R. Lewis from Magnolia says that makes sense to her. She says using insurance plans more effectively to save money is a no-brainer.

 

“If you have a great investment, you won’t just go running to the hospital because you had a little cough or if little Johnny fell down and got a little scratch, you would put a Band-Aid on that," Lewis said.

 

The crowd seemed split over whether or not to add a sales tax. Carney notes Delaware does have a gross receipts tax on a business’s sales, which he called a “hidden sales tax.”

 

Carney received no pushback from Kent County residents over his proposal to raise personal income tax rates across the board.

 

The plan would hike individual rates, but increase the standard deduction for everyone while eliminating itemized deductions.

 

Wayne Hendricks from Harrington says he’s willing to pay more on the income side rather than have lawmakers consider reassessing property values statewide – something that hasn’t been done in 40 years in some cases.

 

“I work hard to own property and I don’t think we should have to pay the whole load. I’m in favor for a sales tax where everybody can help out,” Hendricks said.

 

Backers of a proposal to legalize recreational marijuana have attended each of Carney’s budget town hall meetings so far, but he remains steadfast in opposing such a plan.

 

The governor says he'll conduct a separate town hall for that issue. No date has yet been set.

 

Lawmakers will begin drafting a final version of the budget next month.