Local News
8:26 am
Fri January 24, 2014

Delaware Governor Calls for Investments During State of the State Speech

Governor Jack Markell (D-De)
Governor Jack Markell (D-De)
Credit official photo

Dover (AP) - Governor jack Markell is asking state lawmakers for $2 million to leverage federal funds aimed at boosting scientific research in Delaware.

In his State of the State address yesterday, Markell touted work being done at the University of Delaware's Science, Technology and Advanced Research, or STAR campus. 

To encourage more research efforts, Markell asked lawmakers to create a $2 million matching grant program that would leverage federal research dollars and help create jobs.

Markell also said Delaware is poised to build a strong cybersecurity research sector with the launch of a public[private partnership at the STAR campus.

He says partnership will link colleges and universities with the private sector to build a collaborative leaning and research network.

Downtowns

Governor Jack Markell said that downtown areas in towns and cities across Delaware could use some sprucing up.

Markell proposed dedicating $7 million state funds for projects investing in downtown areas.

The governor proposed creating Downtown Development Districts that would qualify for development incentives and other benefits in housing and transportation.

Markell said builders investing in those district would receive grants for a percentage of their investment.

The governor aid the state money will help leverage tens of millions of dollars in private capital for downtown projects, which he said can improve both business opportunities and the state's housing stock.

Credit creative commons wikimedia

Crime

Governor jack Markell also proposed the creation of a new gun-trafficking unit in state government to help reduce the epidemic of gun violence in Delaware.

Markell said that gun violence is too often committed by shoorter who cannot legally own guns, and that it's critical for authorities to do a better job tracing weapons back to their sources.

At the same time, Markell says more must be done to address the causes of crime, including substance abuse.

In addition, the governor said it was time to end the state from forcing job applicants to check the box for criminal convictions.

He also proposed a bail reform program aimed at reducing the num ber of pretrial detainees in state prisons.

In another proposal aimed at prison overcrowding, Markell also said judges in Delaware should have the discretion to impose concurrent, not consecutive, sentences for multiple offenses.

Credit Don Rush

Education

Governor Jack Markell says the state needs to ensure that every high school student who wants to go to college has a chance to do so.

Markell proposed a scholarship program that would allow all low-income Delaware students with college potential to take credit-bearing courses durkng their senior year in high school. He said students who get a taste of college-level material in high school are more likely to enroll in college and make it through their freshman year.

But the governor also said more must be done to help high school students bound for jobs instead of college.

And the governor also said it was time to raise the minimum wage from $7.25 an hour to $8.25 an hour

Transportation

Governor Jack Markell said it is also time to stop complaining about the sorry shape of Delaware's transportatin trust fund and do something about it.

Markell proposed investing $1.1 billion in the trust fund over th enext five years. That's a $500 million increase over the current spending plan.

Markell said improving Delaware';s roads and bridge infrastructure is vital to building a strong economy.

The governor also said Delawre needs to upgrade its wastewater and drinking water plants and improve stormwater infrastructure.

The governor also plans to propose an initiatve next month to clean up Delaware's waterways.