Earlier today, the Caesar Rodney Institute (CRI) released its new report on the state of the state, and the numbers are pretty damning for Democratic Governor Jack Markell. Just like the rest of the nation, Delaware's economy is in shambles, schools fail to educate and the state government is bloated by a tax then spend mentality.
Since Governor Markell's inauguration Delaware has lost at a minimum of 15,000 jobs bringing its unemployment rate down 3.6 percent. Hiring in Delaware continues to be anemic at best with hiring down -2826, and that is with a smaller workforce. It is also important to note that this trend mirrors the national economy and blame also belongs to fellow Democratic President Barack Obama who like Governor Markell suffer from perpetual incompetence on running a government.
With the state government being the largest employer, and the financial firms followed behind the headwinds for Delaware look questionable for Delaware. Delaware's bloated balance sheet continues to drag down its competitiveness amongst better run states like South Carolina and Texas which enjoy employers announcing new start ups or new operations there. The financial sector in Delaware is up in the air with announced bank layoffs hovering over 150,000 nationwide. What than means for Bank of America (acquired MBNA in 2006 and announced over 40,000 layoffs); Citi (announced layoffs of 4,500); and Barclays (announced layoffs of 2,800) is uncertain. All three banks have operations centers in Delaware employing thousands.
For Governor Markell who was an executive at Nextel, and Alan Levin (former CEO of Happy Harry's and head of the state's economic development office), Delaware's economic record has been underwhelming. For two executives to have performed this badly and not being able to sell Delaware as a place to live and do business, this has to be telling of the failed liberal economic philosophy.
Could it be that Delaware's economy is just to big to attract new businesses?
Could it be that Delaware's business regulations are too toxic for entrepreneurs to risk capital to start their own businesses?
Could it be that Delaware's education system is not educating its students to the risk that businesses don't feel we have an workforce worthy of employing? According to the CRI report, Delaware's public schools, for the dollars spent, are failing to do just that. High school students are failing to pass basic math, reading and science metrics. SAT scores are down statewide. Governor Markell has embraced Race to the Top, but the scores prove its more like race to the bottom.
For Governor Markell who attracted scores of Republicans in his 2008 victory and appointed Republican Alan Levin, why haven't they explored more conservative ideas such as right to work to bring in new employers? Why did Governor Markell reject Hyundai Motor's request to buy the defunct Newark Chrysler plant because they wanted a right-to-work provision over hiring union labor?
Political ideology has mired Delaware's economy to be continually anemic for over two decades and it is time it comes to an end. The current trajectory of stagnant economic growth, high employment, higher government unfunded liabilities and higher taxes is causing Delaware to be as attractive as the fat kid with acne. Simply put, until Delaware gets its fiscal house in order, educates its students on substance and promotes opportunity over dependence; Delaware will continue to lag behind pro-growth states.
In 2012, We Have Options
Any person who has performed this poorly in the private sector surely would be thrown out on their backside and Delawareans must do the same to Governor Markell. Maybe it is time Delaware elect an actual business owner likely declared GOP candidate Jeff Cragg who has owned multiple businesses in northern Delaware. Unlike Markell, Cragg actually believes in free-markets and his businesses continue to weather the storm despite headwinds put in by national and Delaware progressives to turn this nation and this state into a third world banana republic.
The question every Delawarean voter is are you better off today then were on January 20, 2009? Are you better off today than you were twenty years ago, when the last Republican governor ran Delaware?