COMMENTARY: Bankrupting a Delaware economic piston

At a recent State Senate hearing on SB 123, which would require rent increases for homes on leased land to pay for a capital expense be dropped when the project was paid for, a non-free-enterprise leased-Land community owner objected on the grounds he was entitled to a return on his investment.

On the other hand, free-enterprise Dover Downs and Dover Motorsports, economic pistons drawing in out-of-state visitors, make a profit in spite of the explosive growth of casinos in surrounding states. The casino took a first-quarter 2016 loss of $239,000 after paying the state $15 million and the horsemen $4.2 million for their gross income. Ironic!

The huge majority of the recession-proof leased-land landlords cater to low-income and limited-income seniors needing affordable housing. They have a guaranteed income from the Rent Justification Law. Understanding the community owners, with a captive audience, want more, the question is, are they paying their fair share of taxes, while free-enterprise Dover Downs is subsidizing the Delaware budget far above taxes levied in other states?

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Fred Neil

Coming from an outstanding Dover Symphony Orchestra concert held at Dover Downs as a part of Dover Days, I wondered how many other organizations have benefited from the community and civic support provided by Dover Downs. At my request, they sent me a list from 2006 through 2016 to date.

The list of beneficiaries is simply astounding. From monetary contributions, free hotel stays, gifts of buffet and dinners, discounts, sponsorships, Dover Downs has been a consistently generous, good neighbor.

Covering 49 Excel spreadsheet pages, 1,419 entries are listed of the Who’s Who of Charitable and Professional Organizations that make Delaware great. I will be happy to send anyone an email copy of the entire list upon request.

If our state legislators are willing to risk driving Dover Downs out of business, how many millions will they offer someone else to bring business into Dover? Will this business be as good a neighbor and business generator as Dover Downs?

Here is a tiny sample of the Dover largess since Feb. 29, 2016, to May 9, 2016. Multiply this by 49 pages:

Inner City Cultural League Inc. Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc. Delaware Wolfpack. Mental Health Association in Delaware. Greater Kent Committee. Country Strong Thomas Tough. Delaware Rockets. Better Business Bureau of Delaware. Kent-Sussex Industries Inc. Salesianum School For the Boys. Bayhealth Medical Center Annual Awards Banquet. Janicki Family Beef & Beer. Wilmington University 6th Annual Scholarship Golf Classic. Benefit for Thomas Carey. Conrad Schools of Science PTO. FOP Lodge 15 Beef & Beer. Gavin’s Fight. Wesley College Field Hockey. Biggs Museum. Polytech High School Marching Band. St. Mary’s Early Education Program. Greater Dover Boys & Girls Clubs. Holy Cross School Father & Daughter Dance. Lifeway Church of God. Moving for Melanoma of Delaware. American Cancer Society Relay for Life Dave’s Team. Harrington Parks & Recreation. Victoria’s Friends Foundation 5th Annual Golf Outing. Sellers Senior Center. Beebe Medical Foundation Beach Bash. Fifer Middle

School PTO. Colonial School District. Delaware Diamond Extravaganza. Delaware Diamonds Fast-pitch Softball. Second Annual “Reds, Whites and Brews” in Delaware for Suiting Warriors. Support Our Soldiers Foundation. The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s Delaware Chapter. Welch Elementary PTA. Fourth Annual Combined Campaign Cup. Erin M. Giles Memorial Scholarship Fund Inc. Leukemia and Lymphoma Society Man and Woman of the Year. Steph’s Soldiers. Dover Fourth of July Celebration. Down Syndrome Association of Delaware. Central Delaware Chamber of Commerce Blue-suiters Golf Tournament. Delaware Association of Police. Delaware Council of Wildlife Rehabilitators and Educators. Temporary Aid to Needy Families. Delmarva Teen Challenge. Dover Interfaith Mission for Housing. God’s Way Thrift Store. Relay for Life Team Generations of HOPE. The ReStore – Habitat for Humanity.

The Pregnancy Help Center of Kent County in memory of Robert M. Sandusky Jr. Fellowship of Christian Athletes. Immaculate Heart of Mary School. The ARC of Delaware. Delaware Breast Cancer Coalition. The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Delaware Chapter Light the Night Walk.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Fred Neil is a Dover City Councilman, one of two representing District 3.

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