Markell proposes new plan for job growth

    Delaware is trying something new to build up its pro-business approach in the state. A new incentive program updates the old Blue Collar Jobs Act. The new plan would offer new or expanding businesses more than just tax credits.

    Gov. Jack Markell hopes a new jobs incentive plan will spark economic growth in Delaware.

    Markell and other officials Wednesday announced the launching of a “Jobs Incentive Fund,” that would help diversify the state’s economy, target export-based businesses and help create “good jobs.”

    “Delaware needs to be and can be the best place in the country to start and grow a business,” he said. “We need new efforts to bring high-quality jobs to and expand economic opportunity for our state.”

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    The fund updates the Blue Collar Jobs Act, which was first passed in 1979.

    Delaware Economic Development Office Director Alan Levin said it would give the state more economic versatility.

    “For years we’ve put a lot of our eggs into the financial services or into manufacturing,” he said. ” This gives us an opportunity to target and look at other opportunities to spread our risks so that we are not subject to downturns in various industries.”

    The revised incentive program would do more than just provide tax credits.

    Details have yet to be worked out, but officials said one new incentive would be to offer expanding businesses up to $6,500 for each new employee.

    “This puts money in the pocket of the business person who in-turn can take that money and invest it into their facility and expansion and put people to work,” said Finance Secretary Tom Cook.

    To qualify, a business would have to create jobs with a minum salary of $20,000.

    Markell said the legislation will be introduced next week.

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