Legislative session not made for these times?


Good afternoon,

Every time I get the inspiration
To go change things around

No one wants to help me look for places
Where new things might be found – I Guess I Just Wasn’t Made for These Times,Brian Wilson and Jerry Asher (The Beach Boys, formerly the Pendeltones)

My apologies for a trip back to my Pendelton shirt days of the 1960s, but this tune rings true when I think about the Delaware General Assembly and some of its colonial traditions that weren’t made for these times.

The legislative body worked through a Zoom session hammered by the coronavirus, stuck with the basics, and passed a $4.5 billion operating budget.

At this writing, the capital (building) budget and Grant in Aid (grants to nonprofits) have been temporarily held up by Republican legislators who say the public did not have enough input.

Unfortunately, there seemed to be a lack of inspiration in this session. It did not help we are in an election year, a time when legislators are wary about pushing the envelope.

Then we had the coronavirus crisis, which blew a hole in the budget. Luckily, a degree of prudence, despite opposition in some quarters, led to funds being set aside.

Still, we ended up with a budget that does not deal with structural issues that will come back to haunt legislators next year, barring an unexpectedly strong economic rebound.

Nowhere to be seen is a financial and regulatory aid program to aid small businesses that have been hammered by COVID 19 and will run out of options if the Payroll Protection Program funds run their course. Of course, I am assuming the PPP funds were secured in the first place.

One can hope that legislators later this summer and in early fall continue to work on fiscal, social justice and coronavirus relief measures in an open process, even if in-person meeting options are limited.

Here’s hoping you get a chance for a little outdoor time that could include making a trip to downtown Newark to celebrate the completion of the Main Street project and more outdoor dining options.

Also, worth watching from your deck is the virtual Clifford Brown Jazz Festival. (See story below). I caught a portion of last night’s offerings from talented young musicians. It was the perfect accompaniment to a beautiful early evening. –Doug Rainey, chief content officer.

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