Carney to Tour Delaware on Economy, Jobs; Business Owners Speak - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Carney to Tour Delaware on Economy, Jobs; Business Owners Speak Out

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DOVER, Del. -- Gov. John Carney is touring Delaware in August to meet with business leaders to solicit ideas on how the state might better serve them, especially after a turbulent session in the General Assembly.

Carney, who this week signed legislation to modernize the Coastal Zone Act and restructure the state's economic development efforts, will visit small-business forums hosted by members of the General Assembly at various locations around the state.

In the final days of the regular legislative calendar this year, lawmakers rejected a proposal to help balance the state's $4.1 billion operating budget using a hike to personal income taxes and raised taxes on real estate, alcohol, and tobacco.

Carney, who proposed similar "sin tax" hikes in his initial budget proposal, said he expects to hear displeasure from some business owners about the state's fiscal problems.

"We'll continue to work on it and I expect we'll hear about that from the business leaders and I hope so, frankly, and we can have a conversation about the best way to address that challenge," he said.

But Barbara Brown, owner of Brown's Wyoming Tavern in Wyoming, said the small hikes to the alcohol excise taxes, which includes measures like a 1-cent increase to a can of beer--will likely make it more difficult for her to stay competitive with larger stores and chains that can order in larger quantities from distributors than she can.

"I don't know how much of a price increase I'm going to have and how much of a price increase I'm going to have to hand down to my customers," she said.

Dom Williams, owner of the Brunch 'n Lunch Cafe in Dover said he hopes the state's new public-private economic development partnership will help promote downtown businesses, as opposed to larger chain businesses in places like U.S. Route 13.

"The downtowns are getting lost in that and if they can refocus on the main streets we can build a strong economy for ourselves," he said.

 

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