Gov. Carney announces plan to rearrange economic development efforts

WILMINGTON, Del. - Governor John Carney announced Wednesday morning a plan to restructure the First State's economic development efforts, in part by eliminating the Delaware Economic Development Office.

Officials say Gov. Carney and members of the General Assembly will work together to approve the concept and funding for a new private-public entity, the Delaware Prosperity Partnership, along with the creation of a new division at the Department of State to work with small business development and tourism.

This reorganization is set to be completed by early 2018, officials said.

"This is about positioning Delaware to be competitive for good jobs moving forward," Delaware Secretary of State Jeff Bullock said. "By strategically partnering with the private sector, we can leverage business resources to strengthen the state's economic development efforts, while continuing to support small business owners and promote our state's $3 billion tourism industry."

The Delaware Prosperity Partnership would be governed by a 15-member board of private and public sector participants and led by a CEO, officials said. Gov. Carney is calling for an annual $2 million in state funding and $1 million in private funding for the partnership. Officials say the state's funding would be dependent on the private sector's commitment to the project.

The responsibilities of the current Delaware Economic Development Office would be shifted to the Department of State's proposed new division, officials said.

"This is not an end, it is a beginning," said Representative Lyndon Yearick, a Republican and member of the Economic Development Working Group. "Bringing the pragmatic knowledge of entrepreneurs into the process of creating a better business environment is a major step forward."

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