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delawareliberal / delawareliberal.net

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I felt that I should respond to this post to expand on some points and to spark further discussion. I stand by the basic premise; that there is waste in state government, and that waste should be taken care of before increasing revenue or cutting items that so many of our residents depend on. Is waste rampant? I wouldn’t say so; but when the Chief Executive is looking to make cuts that are going to force a large group of Delawareans to choose between taxes and medicine or taxes and food, then we need to explore alternatives. Now, a 1% cut across the top may not be possible. There are issues with contracts, federally mandated expenditures, required maintenance, and other challenges to an across-the-board cut. But the real point is to begin a sincere dialogue.

So, with what we are left with to trim, we face another dilemma. Departments have the tendency to spend-out their budget each year; no matter what. If they don’t, it’s almost guaranteed that they will receive less money the next year, which encourages waste. What are some of those wasteful items you may ask? I can give you a very visible example of it down here in my district. DelDOT has been replacing the rectangular green road signs (that are at intersections; mostly above the stop signs) that were installed a few years ago with NEW rectangular signs. The difference? Road names are not all capitalized. Oh, and there is a nice white border around the signs. What is driving this? The Federal “Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices”. Some of Delaware’s signs are not in compliance with the new regulations that are coming out in 6 years… SIX YEARS! So today, when we are trying to tighten the belt as best we can, we are spending money on replacing perfectly good signs. To me, that’s waste. Will this one area fix out budget problem? Absolutely not. However 10, 15 or 20 of these examples across state government may save millions of YOUR tax dollars to be used for programs that we need; substance abuse treatment, legitimate roadway maintenance, adolescent violence prevention, programs for children and the elderly… this list also can go on and on. All without “raising revenue”.

Prevailing wage is another area where there can be some discussion, and common ground can be found. Looking at the current rates (they can be found near the bottom of the page here http://dia.delawareworks.com/labor-law/prevailing-wage.php), there are some of these trades that are paid a hugely different rate just a few miles apart from each other. I personally do not want to scrap the system; I have a LOT of respect for unions and union workers in Delaware. My father was a member of IBEW for almost 30 years. I do think that with some re-working on how prevailing wage is calculated we can put MORE Delawareans to work on MORE projects for the same cost to taxpayers; and still pay our workers a fair wage.

We are in a mess here that has been decades in the making, and I’m not throwing
Democrats under the bus for all of the issues. Some in the GOP have been complicit as well, and should bear responsibility. That being said, hindsight is 20/20, and if you never take the time to figure out what you did wrong, you’re doing everyone a disservice. We have problems, and doing the same thing over and over again will not solve them. The best thing to do is shed our preconceived notions of what the other party wants. Come to the table with an open mind- a statesman’s mind- and see where we can find common ground. No one person has all of the answers. But if you get enough open-minded people together and talk to each other, then you have a shot at figuring things out.

I don’t wish to participate in a back and forth in this forum; that is not the point of my chiming in here. I do welcome ANYONE to contact me; whether you live in my district or not. What I do in Dover and my votes don’t just affect the 19th district, and I am well aware of that. I am also keenly aware that it’s the voters of the 19th District that have sent me to Dover. My Dover office number is 302-744-4117, and my Georgetown number is 302-858-0694. You can also email me at my state email address. I host monthly coffees; the next one will be this Saturday 2/21 at Jimmy’s Grille in Bridgeville from 7-8 AM. I always enjoy reading DelawareLiberal; especially the comments, and realize that we are not so far apart in many issues. I’ve heard a great number of good things about many on this forum by people I respect. And I hope that we may continue the process of talking TO each other, instead of talking AT each other.
Brian Pettyjohn
State Senator; 19th District

2015-02-14 19:58:08 Brian Pettyjohn