DOVER, Del.- A $63 million refund request has lawmakers starting budget hearings in Delaware concerned - even though they do not know yet if that request will go through.
"$63 million, in good times, is a lot of money," said Rep. Harvey Kenton, R-Milford. "Now in times when we're facing constraints, it certainly is a concern."
A company asked for the refund this past fall. It's the single largest request of its kind in state history. Delaware Secretary of Finance Tom Cook says the issue dates back about four years.
"It was due to a unique transaction."
The company says it recently realized taxes on that transaction should have gone to a different state. Cook isn't sure.
"We will evaluate and analyze the request and make the proper call," he said.
Cook expects to have an update for lawmakers in mid-March.
More than half of the Fortune 500 is incorporated in Delaware. And while it is clear only a large company could ask for such large refund, the Department of Finance, citing confidentiality laws, will not tell the public - won't even tell lawmakers - what company it is.
"We had meetings with the administration several weeks ago," Sen. Bruce Ennis, D-Smyrna, said. "I asked that question. Of course, due to confidentiality, they weren't allowed to say who it was. But I would feel more comfortable knowing who it was."
The potential for this hit was not factored into Gov. Jack Markell's budget proposal.
"There are always issues that are out there," said Cook. "Revenue projections change. It's a constantly evolving process."
So, lawmakers are left waiting and wondering if they'll have to find ways to deal with $63 million less in next year's budget.
"That's in the back of the minds of everybody on the Joint Finance Committee," Kenton said.
Kenton says he's also heard the state may be getting an influx of $65 million, which is currently unaccounted for. If that happens too it would balance out the hit for Delaware.
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