On Wednesday the Delaware Senate approved legislation, House Bill 2 (HB2), that will allow federal workers to avoid some civil proceedings during the partial government shutdown. A second bill, House Bill 3 (HB3), that would have offered those same employees low-interest, state guaranteed loans was defeated.
In addition to the new legislation passed in Dover, Wilmington Mayor Mike Purzycki announced on Thursday, a series of temporary payment options for City residents who are either Federal government employees or Federal government contractors, and have been laid-off due to the Federal government shutdown.
Shortly after the announcements of the new programs, New Castle County GOP Chairman Chuck Boyce responded, calling the new programs “Feel Good, Do Nothing Bills”.
“Week after week our elected officials in Dover push through feel-good legislation to keep up the appearance they’re hard at work for the people of Delaware. These two bills are a great example of the smoke and mirrors we’ve unfortunately grown accustomed to from the political class” said Boyce. “Of course we are all concerned for our fellow Delawareans that are suffering due to the federal government shutdown, but this legislation creates special privileges for those who are employed by the federal government, and sets a precedent that those that work for the government are more deserving than those that have suffered hardships in the private sector.”
If it would have passed HB3 would have provided a state guarantee of $80,000 for those potential loans, or roughly $152 per person, according to Boyce.
HB3, backed by Governor John Carney, needed five Republican votes in addition to all members of the Democratic majority, however, the bill failed to pass in a 15-6 vote.
The passing of House Bill 2, allows a court or administrative agency to stay or postpone rent, mortgage payments, insurance premiums, and other financial responsibilities for federal workers during the partial shutdown.
Senator Colin Bonini (R) echoed Boyce’s concern. “I’m worried that actions taken to benefit federal workers will set a bad precedent.” He worried that next time a private sector company lays workers off, “They’re going to come to us and say ‘You did it for federal employees, why don’t you do it for us?'”
Boyce indicated that he supported the Delaware Federal Credit Union’s plan to assist the workers but had choice words for others. “I applaud Delaware Federal Credit Union for stepping up on their own accord and offering 0% interest loans for those affected by the shutdown.” Boyce said. “If you take a deeper dive into which banks are financing democrat campaigns, and which banks pushed for this legislation, the picture becomes a little clearer why certain politicians would disguise this money grab as a do-good piece of legislation.”
“Lining the pockets of financial institutions…in the midst of a crisis is frankly not the job of state government.”, added Boyce.
“None of us anticipated that this stalemate would go on this long, so we are taking steps to help City residents who are temporarily out of work,” said Mayor Purzycki. The Mayor said City residents who have valid Federal government employment and contractor credentials will be eligible for assistance.
Under their program, the City of Wilmington will defer payments for water/sewer/stormwater bills, eliminate penalties and interest for late payments, and establish payment plans for those who request one, according to Purzycki. To be eligible, Federal employees and Federal contractors must stop at the City’s Finance Customer Service Office on the first floor of the Louis L. Redding City/County Building Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 3:45 p.m. to present their federal government credentials. At that time, they can request a payment arrangement or deferred payment plan. The City will also work with federal employees on any other debt to the City that is directly related to the government shutdown. Once the shutdown ends, the City will assist citizens in returning to a regular payment schedule.
Boyce said there are approximately 525 federal workers that are impacted by the partial federal shutdown in Delaware. Purzycki said he didn’t know how many of those live in Wilmington.