Governor Markell Announces Nomination of Patrice Gilliam-Johnson, Ph.D. to Serve as Secretary of Labor

 

Dover, DE — Governor Markell announced today the nomination of respected educator and human resources expert Patrice Gilliam-Johnson, Ph.D. to serve as Delaware’s next Secretary of Labor.Patrice

For more than a decade, Dr. Gilliam-Johnson has served as Chairperson of Wilmington University’s Organization Dynamics Program.  In that capacity, she has helped prepare thousands of students for careers through instruction in the social and psychological elements of organizational behavior, leadership, motivation, workplace performance, and management.  Prior to entering academia in 1997, Dr. Gilliam-Johnson was a consultant providing training and consultation relating to workplace competency skills, employee selection, assessment and performance evaluation systems, and grievance procedures.  Prior to that time, Dr. Gilliam-Johnson gained a critical understanding of how organizations and governments can prepare employees for growth while serving in various roles with the Drug Enforcement Administration, the District of Columbia Courts, and the U.S. Department of Labor.

“Patrice’s experience and background coupled with her strong work ethic, dedication to underserved communities, and her passion for public service will make her a strong Labor Secretary if confirmed,” said Governor Jack Markell. “I am confident that Patrice’s understanding of people and how best to support them and their organizations will allow her to help build a stronger workforce in Delaware.”

Dr. Gilliam-Johnson received her Bachelors in Psychology from Morgan State University, and her Masters and Doctorate in Industrial and Organizational Psychology at the University of Maryland. She currently resides in Wilmington.  Dr. Gilliam-Johnson is active in the community, including as President of the Gilliam Foundation.  She has served as a board member or volunteer with the Delaware Community Foundation, the Metropolitan Wilmington Urban League, and Communities in Schools.  If confirmed by the Senate, Dr. Gilliam-Johnson would fill the vacancy created by the retirement of John McMahon.

“I am honored to have been nominated by Governor Markell to serve as Secretary of Labor,” said Gilliam-Johnson. “The Department has a hugely important role connecting people with the training and resources they need to get good jobs.  If confirmed by the Senate, I look forward to helping them with this vitally important work.”

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Governor Markell Statement on President Obama’s 2016 State of the Union

Wilmington, DE – Governor Markell issued the following statement in reaction to President Obama’s State of the Union address:

“The President delivered the messages needed for our country to meet the challenges of the 21st century, recognizing that the new economy offers incredible possibilities for all of us if we tap into the talents of all of our people, embrace the promise of new technology, and ensure everyone has the opportunity to reach his or her potential.

“He recognized that this means providing access to high quality education and training from pre-K students through workers who are retooling for new industries. It means engaging with economies around the world, while working together to address the impacts of climate change, and it means removing the barriers to our citizen’s success, including political gridlock. I was pleased to hear he hopes to work with Congress to address the substance abuse epidemic and inequities in our criminal justice system. And I was inspired by his call for the Vice President to lead our country’s efforts to cure cancer. Joe Biden has been fighting for people for four decades, and this mission may be his greatest and most lasting gift to our country.

“While our prosperity certainly requires effectively fighting national security threats from foreign enemies, it also demands that we hold true to our values, as the President said tonight. There is no reason why leaders at the national, state, and local levels cannot rally together around these missions.”

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Delaware Competes Act Filed

Legislation would reform the Delaware Corporate Income tax to remove barriers to job creation and simplify compliance for small businesses.

Dover, DE – HB 235, known as the Delaware Competes Act and sponsored by leadership of both the Democratic and Republican parties of the House and Senate, was introduced today in advance of next week’s commencement of the 2016 General Assembly.

The bill would reform the way that the state apportions income tax for corporations to remove elements of the code that are disincentives for new investment and job creation. Under current law, companies that create jobs or invest in property in the state must pay more corporate income tax. While the Delaware Competes Act does not change the tax rate, it changes the apportionment formula to remove those disincentives, and calculates taxable income using the revenue generated by a business’ activities in the state.

The Delaware Competes Act also makes several changes to the code to simplify the filing process for small businesses, and gives them added protection from being penalized for filing errors.

“This bill will ensure that Delaware will continue to be an attractive place for businesses to relocate or expand,” said Governor Jack Markell. “I am grateful to the leaders of both parties for supporting these common sense reforms that will benefit all Delawareans. Employers should not have to pay more in taxes just because they decide to create more jobs in the state.”

House Majority Leader Valerie Longhurst, who is sponsoring the bill, noted that the measure will benefit many small businesses throughout the state by reducing and simplifying filings they must submit, protecting them from being penalized due to errors during filing.

“Most other states have abandoned this method of calculating corporate income tax, which leaves Delaware at a competitive disadvantage. By taking these steps, we are putting Delaware on a level playing field with our surrounding states,” said Rep. Longhurst, D-Bear. “I’m pleased that leaders on both sides of the aisle have quickly come together to make Delaware an even better place for businesses. I hope we can continue to work together on other efforts to address our fiscal situation.”

In recent years, more and more states have adopted this method of apportionment, with Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York among those who have made similar adjustments.

Senator Patricia Blevins, the lead Senate sponsor and President Pro Tempore of the Senate, hailed the bill as an example of what can be accomplished when the parties are willing to come together and put the interests of citizens before politics.

“Adjusting to our rapidly changing economy means both parties must quickly coalesce around some new ideas that put Delawareans first,” Blevins said. “I’m proud that more often than not, that’s the spirit that carries the day in Legislative Hall, and I’m hopeful that our cooperation on this issue will set the tone for this upcoming legislative session.”

“This bill will reform our corporate income tax calculation, remove a disincentive for job creation, and make us more competitive with other states. It is a positive, bipartisan step towards improving Delaware’s business climate,” said House Minority Leader Danny Short, a Prime sponsor of the bill.

Senate Minority Whip Greg Lavelle, another Prime Sponsor, said that the bill was a win for both our citizens and business community. “Being able to review and modify our corporate income tax structure is worthwhile and worth doing. It’s a big deal.”

Business community leaders also expressed their support for the Delaware Competes Act. “The Delaware State Chamber of Commerce is pleased that the Administration and General Assembly are taking this step to help make Delaware more competitive regionally and nationally,” said A. Richard Heffron, President of the Delaware State Chamber of Commerce.  “Policies like these are what we need to attract and retain companies in Delaware, which is vital to our long term economic growth.”

Modernizing Delaware’s business taxes, as proposed in the Delaware Competes Act, was identified by the Governor’s Revenue Review Task Force as one way to provide more predictability and stability for Delaware’s Corporate Income Tax. “I am happy to see that the General Assembly is taking steps to enact this change,” said Josh Martin, Chairman of the Task Force. “This recommendation had unanimous support from the group, and its adoption would have a positive impact on the state going forward.”

The Delaware Competes Act has been assigned to the House Revenue & Finance Committee.

HB 235 changes the method of calculating Corporate Income Tax apportionment. Currently, three factors are used to determine what portion of a company’s total income is attributed to Delaware for the purposes of assessment- their total payroll in Delaware relative to their payroll in the US, their total property holdings in Delaware relative to their property throughout the US, and their total sales in Delaware relative to their total sales throughout the country. The bill adjusts this calculation so that by 2020, attribution is determined 100% by using the ratio of sales in Delaware. It phases in this change over the next four years, weighting sales at a 50% rate in 2017, a 60% rate in 2018, and a 75% rate in 2019. Companies with headquarters in Delaware would see the shift to 100% take full effect in 2017.

The bill makes some other adjustments targeted to assist small businesses. Currently, businesses must make payments totaling 70% of their estimate total tax for the year by June 1st. This can be difficult for small businesses, because their revenue is frequently more volatile than larger corporations, and their cash flow is often more challenging to manage. The bill allows small companies to file 25% estimates each quarter, smoothing out the payments throughout the course of the year.

The legislation also adjusts the threshold for the safe harbor from penalties for incorrect estimates. The safe harbor provision for small businesses was enacted in 1984, but the qualification threshold has not been adjusted, so many small businesses no longer qualify. The bill adjusts the qualification threshold and indexes it against inflation, so small companies will remain eligible as originally intended. The threshold for qualification to report gross receipts data quarterly instead of monthly is also adjusted, meaning smaller businesses will not have to go through the reporting process as often as they currently do. Finally, the bill clarifies that, for the purposes of income attribution, only US based assets are part of the calculation. This has been done in practice since a court ruling mandated it several years ago, but was never codified.

Full text of the legislation can be found here.

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Statement by Governor Markell on Death of Former Democratic Party Chairman Samuel Shipley

Wilmington, DE – The Governor extended his deepest sympathies to the family of Samuel Shipley, a former chairman of the Delaware Democratic Party. He issued the following statement upon the news of his passing:

“Delaware is a better place because of Sam Shipley’s commitment and passion for public service. I am deeply saddened to hear of Sam’s passing. He was an incredible mentor to me, and others, and I could always count on his sound advice when it was needed. My thoughts and prayers go out to his family during this difficult time. He will be greatly missed.”

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One Hero at a Time: Update on Delaware’s Challenge to House Homeless Veterans

ONE HERO AT A TIME: UPDATE ON DELAWARE’S CHALLENGE

TO HOUSE HOMELESS VETERANS

December 23, 2015 (Dover, DE) – On any given night, 100 Veterans in Delaware are homeless. For seven years, Henry Smith was one of them. An honorably discharged Veteran of the U.S. Army, Mr. Smith lived off and on in rooming houses and in 2015 was referred by the Wilmington VA Medical Center to Connections’ VA-funded Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) program. SSVF provides a range of supportive services and assistance to help Veterans secure housing stability. He entered the program on November 5, 2015 and was housed on December 3. “After being homeless for seven years, I thought housing was impossible,” said Mr. Smith. “My apartment is quiet, clean, and well-kept. Connections worked hard to establish a rapport with the landlord, and I hope more vets get the opportunity to be housed.”

Helping all homeless Veterans reach the same outcome Mr. Smith achieved with the help of Connections is the goal of the Delaware Challenge to End Veteran Homelessness. Today, the Delaware State Housing Authority and partners in the Challenge announced a progress update. Earlier this year, the state working group steering the effort used methodology developed by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to estimate that 277 Veterans are expected to experience homelessness in Delaware in 2015. Since January 29, 2015, 282 homeless Veterans have been identified in Delaware. Two hundred seventy eight of these have been stabilized and are off the streets. Of these, 169 have been placed in permanent housing. One hundred nine are in temporary housing (emergency or transitional housing: still homeless by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)’s definition, but stabilized), and only four remain unsheltered.

Homeless Veterans Graph

After announcing his intent to end homelessness among Veterans in Delaware in his State of the State Address, in May 2015 Governor Markell unveiled the State’s plan to achieve this goal and signed on to the national Challenge. A state working group brings together key state and federal partners and representatives from local committees on a monthly basis to steer and monitor progress on the statewide effort. Key partners include the Delaware Department of Health and Social Services, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Delaware Commission for Veterans Affairs, Homeless Planning Council of Delaware, Connections CSP, Veterans Multi-Service Center, all three counties in Delaware, and the cities of Wilmington, Newark, Dover, Seaford, Georgetown, Bridgeville, Greenwood, and Blades have also signed on. Local groups are working in all three counties on direct outreach and community mobilization.

On October 23, Governor Markell and other officials announced several new initiatives to end Veteran homelessness in Delaware, including a statewide 100-day challenge to permanently house 96 homeless Veterans, starting October 23 and ending with the annual Point in Time study in late January, 2016. The Point in Time study is the process by which Veteran homelessness is measured nationally each year. In the 100-day Challenge to date, 29 homeless Veterans have been placed in permanent housing. Also announced in October, the Veterans Count outreach event identified eight unsheltered homeless Veterans who had not been in contact with services previously and are now being engaged in services. On November 10, 11, and 12, volunteers statewide canvassed the state at 4:00 AM to seek and identify unsheltered homeless Veterans.

The Challenge is not only about housing Veterans who are currently homeless, but putting the systems in place to ensure that Veterans who become homeless in the future are quickly connected to permanent housing, resources are available to house them, and homeless Veterans do not fall through cracks between the VA and mainstream systems. Many such system changes are underway in Delaware, to ensure the commitment to end Veteran homelessness is not just temporary but permanent.

Governor Markell stated, “With the hard work of everyone involved in this effort, we are showing that stories like Henry Smith’s can represent the new norm. We can ensure homeless Veterans are quickly and effectively connected to services and permanent housing assistance, while service providers are committed to help ensure their success and Delaware landlords are willing to give Veterans a hand up.”

Phyllis Chamberlain, Executive Director of the Homeless Planning Council of Delaware, added: “This initiative is really about providing housing first opportunities to Veterans as quickly as possible. Housing provides a safe and stable foundation for Veterans and their families, and from that safety and stability, they can better deal with any other issues they may be experiencing, including lack of employment and mental illness.”

Progress on the Challenge will again be measured with the 2016 Point in Time count in late January 2016, a statewide outreach and census event to identify individuals who are homeless on a given night. For more information about the national and Delaware Challenges, please see:

U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Mayors Challenge

Delaware Challenge

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About the Delaware State Housing Authority

The Delaware State Housing Authority (DSHA), formed in 1968, is dedicated to providing quality, affordable housing opportunities and appropriate supportive services to low- and moderate-income Delawareans. For more information about the Delaware State Housing Authority, please call: (302) 739-4263 or visit our website at: www.destatehousing.com