Posted: July 1, 2003


DOVER -- Governor Ruth Ann Minner released the following statement after the conclusion of the first part of the 142nd General Assembly on July 1, about 12:45 a.m.: 

“This evening marks the finish of my third legislative session as Governor. Once again, the people of Delaware are better off for the work that the General Assembly and I have accomplished over the last six months. 

“First and foremost, the residents of Delaware are better off than the residents of almost every other state this evening because of the responsible way we have managed our budget. We have not eliminated people’s health care. We have not diminished public safety by cutting state troopers.  

“We have not imperiled education by closing schools part time or laying off teachers. We have not put families into crisis and weakened state services by laying off scores of state employees. And we have addressed – and this is hopefully the last time you will hear this phrase – a $300 million structural problem in our budget in a way that means we shouldn’t have to worry about any of those actions for the next several years. 

“We have addressed these issues in the way any responsible Delaware family would – by working to ensure that expenditures and revenues are aligned, and without using any one-time solutions that just cause more problems down the road. We have done it in a way that has garnered acclaim from Governing magazine and USA Today and from the bond rating agencies that are so important in saving us money. 

“And we have done it without resorting to the partisan or political standoffs that brought a number of states across the country to the brink of a government shutdown. I again thank the members of the General Assembly – both chambers and both parties – for the splendid way we have worked together this year.  

“Beyond our responsible – many other states might say ‘miraculous’ – financial management, there are a number of other ways Delawareans will be better off when they wake up in a few hours: 

“There is more protection for the environment now that corporate managers of industrial facilities will be held personally responsible for their plants’ environmental safety. There is more assurance that, when the next drought comes, northern New Castle County water customers will not face the shortages and restrictions they faced last year. 

“We have created a new Department of Safety and Homeland Security to better focus on those issues in these still troubling times. There is the guarantee that unemployment compensation won’t go down and unemployment taxes won’t go up in January because the General Assembly and I have reanalyzed old assumptions about how the UI Trust Fund must work. 

“There is further progress toward a more Livable Delaware, with governments, developers, neighbors and citizens sitting down at the start of development projects to seek common goals for each project. 

“There is a road map for Delaware’s fight against cancer, with $5 million for screening and treatment of uninsured people and the creation of a cancer consortium to oversee our efforts and assure our progress. 

“We have enhanced Delaware’s world-renowned Court of Chancery, creating within it a technology court and mediation process that will make our state an even greater draw for corporate formation and legal business. We have heightened penalties for stalking and membership in violent criminal gangs. We have protected mobile home park residents from being unduly forced out of their homes and senior citizens from consumer fraud scams. 

“There are a few works left undone: make our roads safer from drunk drivers; reforming our campaign finance laws; and protecting the rights of all Delawareans, regardless of their sexual orientation. These are all issues whose time – I’m sure – will come. That time will just have to be another day. 

“In all, this has been a very productive session for me, for the legislature and for the people of Delaware. The people should be proud of both what has been accomplished and the manner in which it has been accomplished. I know I am.”