Delaware Democratic chair blasts GOP anti-poverty plan

DOVER — In the wake of the Senate Republican caucus announcing a set of initiatives designed to combat poverty, the head of the state Democratic Party blasted the plan as lacking substance.

The proposal, unveiled in an advance briefing Tuesday, focuses on creating several new tax credits, reducing government regulations and contracting with private organizations to achieve specific goals.

Though several Senate Republicans said they believe the 11 items are bipartisan, Democratic Chairman John Daniello issued a statement Wednesday criticizing the effort of the minority party.

John Daniello

John Daniello

“While I’m glad that Senate Republicans have decided Delaware’s economic growth ought to include the very people their policies have left behind for generations, the sad fact is that their plan offers little in the way of solutions that would do anything to help the working poor,” he said.

“While Democrats have been proud to support efforts to reduce the tax burden on those living near or beneath the poverty line, the Republican plan of replacing proven safety net programs with a litany of tax credits for wealthy benefactors and corporations simply doesn’t add up.”

Senate Republicans responded.

“We were terribly disappointed by the aggressive, nasty attack issued by the Delaware Democratic political machine,” Minority Whip Sen. Gregory Lavelle of Sharpley said in a statement. “We hear constantly that people are sick of Washington, D.C., politics and flame throwing. That kind of response has no place in a genuine discussion on how to make life better for the many Delawareans suffering in poverty. They deserve much better.”

Many of the proposed efforts involve the private sector, offering incentives to entice nonprofits or companies to help the government in combating poverty. They include plans to contract to outside organizations for services to save money, create a school voucher for needy students and reduce regulations Republicans say are restricting business growth.

Some elements of the programs are undoubtedly bipartisan, but Democrats may object that the poverty agenda could shrink government and reduce services.

Mr. Daniello touted some aspects of the proposal, such as tax credits to help low-income families, but called the plan part of “trickle-down economic policies (that) have time and time again failed the working poor.”

“If they are serious about fighting poverty, they can join us in supporting other proactive, outcome-driven efforts like sentencing reform, providing family leave, increasing the minimum wage and expanding early childhood education — things they’ve routinely opposed in the General Assembly and beyond,” he said of Republican lawmakers.

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