“Another tool in the toolbox” – Delaware paving way for economic opportunity with SB127

DELAWARE – When you’re starting or expanding a business, marketing and getting products on the shelves aren’t the only things you need to worry about.
You also need to consider building. That’s a hurdle that State Senator Jack Walsh says the legislature has been trying to tackle for quite a while. “We have talked about this for years, about establishing a site readiness fund to basically ensure that businesses can grow and thrive in Delaware,” said Sen. Walsh.

When businesses are starting out or growing, they need to make sure they have things like running water, working lights, and the infrastructure needed to get to them like roads. Governor John Carney says Senate Bill 127 is going to help businesses to pay for those things, and get them completed faster. “This bill and the work of the Prosperity Partnership will enable us to compete and win every day here in Delaware,” said Gov. Carney.

Tuesday Gov. Carney signed the bill, which helps clear some of those hurdles that businesses must jump through before they can open their doors. The bill establishes a $10 million fund within the state’s budget to help pay for things like designing and engineering utilities, and access roads and entrances. Awardees can also use the money for environmental impact studies. “A lot of these companies are looking for things to be ready in six to 12 months, and if you don’t have the utilities in place, it’s not going to happen,” said Sen. Walsh.

That small window of time, and the burden of getting everything together within it, is something Gov. Carney says actually drove new businesses away from the first state in the past. “We had site selectors who came in and they basically were saying ‘We’re not really paying much attention to Delaware anymore,” said Gov. Carney.

Awards will be given to qualifying businesses by the state’s Division of Small Business. Sen. Walsh says there are safeguards in place that will require some awardees to pay the state back if they don’t meet certain standards. He says the standards include creating a certain number of jobs and following fair hiring practices. The senator says, hopefully the pot of money and promise of equal opportunity will poise Delaware to be a go-to destination for entrepreneurs. “This is another tool in the toolbox, so to speak, to market the state,” said Sen. Walsh.

Sen. Walsh tells 47ABC even though the bill has been in the works for years, the funding couldn’t have come at a better time. “I think businesses are going to be eager to expand, now that we are coming, hopefully, through this COVID pandemic,” said Sen. Walsh.

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