Del. House Debates Taxes Scheduled to Sunset - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Del. House Debates Taxes Scheduled to Sunset

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DOVER, Del.- The Delaware House of Representatives has passed bills to continue indefinitely four tax increases that are supposed to go away this year.

The four bills affect franchise, personal income, gross receipts, and estate taxes. They were all raised in 2009 when the state was in serious financial trouble. And though they were scheduled to sunset this year, that may not end up happening.

The bills required three-fifths majorities to pass. They got that even with every Republican and Democrat Rep. John Atkins, D-Millsboro, voting no on each.

Talk of taxes not going back to 2009 levels isn't sitting with people in Dover.     

"I'm not really happy about it," said Neal Robinson, of Dover. "Too many times they raise the taxes, saying they'll go down, and they never do."

"They'll do anything they can to get more and more of our money to spend it any way they can," Pat Fizette, of Dover, said.

House Majority Leader Rep. Val Longhurst, D-Bear, says it was never a guarantee the taxes levels would go back to 2009 levels this year.

"What Rep. Schwartzkopf, D-Rehoboth, said is depending on where the economy is we will revisit them. Our economy hasn't rebounded. We're still in the same position. It's not the $800 million shortfall we had four years ago, but we haven't come out of it yet."

She says the house needs to pass this plan.

"If it doesn't go through, we're going to have do some major cuts," Longhurst said. "That's not a good thing."

Minority Leader Rep. Danny Short, R-Seaford, says not going back to 2009 levels amounts to a broken promise.

"It's actually reimposing these taxes - in the case of the bills - forever. They have no expiration on them. That's troublesome to me, because there was a promise made in '09."

And that's how Robinson feels. He says if it goes through he'll feel lied to.

"When someone says they're going to do something, and they don't, that's a lie."

The bills now head to the Senate for consideration. If all the bills pass, the taxes won't be at their original hike level. But they will be higher than they were to start in 2009. Gov. Jack Markell's budget proposal counts on these four tax bills passing. 

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