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Karen's Plan | Overview of Jobs and Economic Development

New Castle County is poised to become a high-impact hub of economic activity, leveraging its strategic East Coast location, business-friendly environment, and robust infrastructure. As President of the New Castle County Council, I have championed numerous initiatives to foster a thriving business ecosystem, emphasizing innovation and entrepreneurship. Our favorable tax climate, seamless logistics, and vibrant community culture make the county an ideal destination for businesses. Moving forward, we will develop a comprehensive economic plan, streamline the land use process, and harness cutting-edge technology to expedite development projects. By supporting existing businesses, welcoming new firms, and promoting Opportunity Zones, we intend to create a diverse and prosperous economic landscape. Our commitment to fiscal responsibility ensures that economic growth benefits all residents, enhancing the quality of life and solidifying New Castle County as a model of economic success.

Jobs and Economic Development: A Vision for New Castle County

 

As a candidate for New Castle County Executive, I bring eight years of experience as the President of New Castle County Council and Co-Chair of the Economic Development Committee. I have consistently supported, advocated for, and sponsored legislation to foster economic growth, innovation, and job creation in our County. Experience matters, and it is this wealth of experience that I will leverage to propel New Castle County into a new era of economic prosperity.

New Castle County Government will provide a wide range of services aimed at fostering a robust economic environment:

Business Attraction
and Retention

We will offer incentives and support to attract new businesses and retain existing ones. This includes tax breaks, grants, and other financial incentives to make New Castle County an appealing destination for businesses.

Workforce Development

Through partnerships with local educational institutions and training programs, we will ensure our workforce is skilled and ready to meet the demands of modern industries.

Steamline Land Use and Enhancing Collaboration

Infrastructure Development

I will streamline the land use process to expedite development projects, aiming for completion within six months to one year without compromising our high standards. This will involve creating a seamless working relationship between DelDOT and the New Castle County Land Use Department, possibly integrating employees from both agencies to enhance coordination. Additionally, I will explore the use of innovative computer programs and AI to improve efficiency.

Investments in infrastructure improvements, including transportation, utilities, and broadband access, are critical to supporting business operations and growth.

Small Business Support

Support: We will provide resources and support for small businesses, including mentoring, funding opportunities, and access to local networks and markets.

Innovation and Technology

Encouraging the growth of technology and innovation sectors through support for startups, incubators, and tech parks.

Community and Culture

Cultivating Innovation and Entrepreneurship

New Castle County, with its unique blend of urban and suburban living, scenic landscapes, and vibrant cultural scene, offers an unparalleled quality of life. From the scenic Brandywine Valley in the upper half to active farms and marshland in the lower half, our County is a perfect backdrop for both residents and businesses of all sizes to flourish. ​ Our community is rich in culture and recreation, with historic museums, a distinct art scene, beautiful parks, and a range of attractions. Wilmington alone is home to The Grand Opera House, the Delaware Museum of Art, the Brandywine Festival of the Arts, the Brandywine Zoo, minor league baseball and basketball teams, and more. Near Middletown and south of the C&D Canal, you’ll find cultural gems like the Delaware Renaissance Faire, The Everett Theatre, Blackbird State Forest, and Diamond State Pickleball among others. These amenities not only enhance the quality of life for our residents but also make our County an attractive location for businesses looking to relocate or expand.

Innovation and entrepreneurship are the cornerstones of economic growth, and New Castle County is committed to fostering a vibrant startup ecosystem. According to the Small Business Administration, small businesses create two out of every three new jobs in the United States. Research consistently shows that firm age, not size, drives job creation. Startups and young firms, particularly those one to five years old, are the primary drivers of job creation and innovation, pioneering new products, services, and technologies that propel economic growth. Our strategy will focus on removing roadblocks for these young companies and entrepreneurs, fostering an environment where innovation can thrive. By supporting small and medium-sized firms, we can stimulate economic activity and job growth, driving our County forward. ​ As President of New Castle County Council, I championed numerous initiatives to support and grow our local economy, co-chairing the Economic Development Committee, where we laid the groundwork for a thriving business environment. My experience and dedication to economic development are unwavering, and as your next County Executive, I will take our efforts to new heights.

A Comprehensive Economic Development Plan

Our vision for New Castle County's economic future is bold and proactive. We will consult with and contract top industry experts to develop a comprehensive economic development plan that looks at the industries of the future—five, ten, fifteen, and twenty years down the road. By identifying high-performing, innovative industries and proactively recruiting top companies worldwide, we will create a diverse economic landscape that ensures long-term prosperity. ​ We will streamline the land use process to ensure that development projects are completed within six months to a year, without compromising our high standards. By fostering strong relationships between DelDOT and the New Castle County Land Use Department, we will coordinate infrastructure development efficiently, supporting the rapid growth of new businesses. ​ As President of New Castle County Council, I championed numerous initiatives to support and grow our local economy, co-chairing the Economic Development Committee, where we laid the groundwork for a thriving business environment. My experience and dedication to economic development are unwavering, and as your next County Executive, I will take our efforts to new heights.

Supporting Existing Businesses and Welcoming New Ones

Our commitment to economic development extends to the businesses that already call New Castle County home. We will ensure that they feel appreciated and supported, providing resources and incentives to help them grow and thrive. Additionally, we will welcome new firms, large and small, to our County, offering a supportive environment that encourages innovation and success.​ We will streamline the land use process to ensure that development projects are completed within six months to a year, without compromising our high standards. By fostering strong relationships between DelDOT and the New Castle County Land Use Department, we will coordinate infrastructure development efficiently, supporting the rapid growth of new businesses. ​ As President of New Castle County Council, I championed numerous initiatives to support and grow our local economy, co-chairing the Economic Development Committee, where we laid the groundwork for a thriving business environment. My experience and dedication to economic development are unwavering, and as your next County Executive, I will take our efforts to new heights.

Harnessing Technology and Innovation

Collaboration Across Government, Strategic Partnerships & Incentives

In our pursuit of efficiency, we will explore the latest innovative computer programs and artificial intelligence tools that can facilitate quicker and more effective project approvals. By embracing cutting-edge technology, we can remove bureaucratic roadblocks and ensure that development projects move forward seamlessly.

Success in economic development requires a united front. We will work closely with local, state, and federal officials to coordinate efforts, share resources, and provide incentives that make New Castle County an attractive destination for businesses. This collaborative approach will amplify our impact and drive sustained growth. ​ We actively collaborate with the Delaware Prosperity Partnership and the State Division of Small Business to expedite the Request for Proposal (RFP) and planning processes for businesses considering relocation to Delaware. Our goal is to create an uncomplicated system that prioritizes business support and leverages Delaware’s small size to facilitate quick communication with elected officials and move projects forward efficiently.

Business-Friendly Climate and Strategic Location - ​

Ranked America’s No. 3 Best Business Environment by U.S. News & World Report in 2023, Delaware offers a uniquely advantageous environment for businesses. The state has the second-lowest tax burden for new firms and the third-lowest for mature firms. In New Castle County, businesses benefit from no sales tax, no personal property tax, no inventory tax, and no value-added tax (VAT). Our corporate income tax rate of 8.7% is highly competitive in the Mid-Atlantic region, and our transition to single sales factor apportionment rewards companies for investing locally, reducing tax liabilities for those with significant property and payroll here.

Our prime location provides easy access to major transportation hubs, including a major port, a passenger rail hub, and two international airports. This infrastructure supports seamless logistics and transportation, making it easier for businesses to operate efficiently and reach markets across the globe. This connectivity, coupled with a high quality of life and diverse lifestyle options, makes New Castle County an ideal place for businesses to thrive.

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A High-Impact Hub of Economic Activity: Driving Innovation and Job Creation in New Castle County -

With its strategic location on the East Coast and its reputation as one of America’s best environments for business, New Castle County stands as a beacon for economic opportunity and innovation. Boasting a diverse landscape, a robust talent pool, and a favorable corporate tax climate, New Castle County is primed to be the next epicenter of business growth and job creation.

Encompassing over half of the state’s population, this dynamic region offers a unique blend of urban vibrancy, suburban tranquility, and rural charm. As President of New Castle County Council for the past eight years, I have championed economic development initiatives that have fostered a thriving environment for businesses and residents alike. My vision for New Castle County’s future is ambitious yet attainable, grounded in a strategic plan to transform our County into a high-impact hub of economic activity, innovation, and job creation.

Embracing Unions and PLAs

Our commitment to supporting unions and Project Labor Agreements (PLAs) remains unwavering. By ensuring fair labor practices and promoting strong partnerships between businesses and workers, we will create a harmonious and productive economic landscape.

A Skilled Workforce and Established Talent Pipeline

The workforce in New Castle County is one of its greatest assets. Leading academic institutions, including six colleges and universities within the county and over 150 higher education institutions within a two-hour drive, ensure a steady stream of skilled and qualified talent. The Delaware Pathways program further enhances this by connecting students, communities, and employers through high-quality career pathways starting in secondary school. ​ Additionally, the New Castle County Vocation Technical School District offers comprehensive training in 38 different career programs, partnering with over 400 businesses in the County. This strong emphasis on education and training ensures that businesses in New Castle County have access to a well-rounded and skilled workforce, ready to meet the demands of a dynamic economy.

Economic Development Benefits for Residents

Increased economic development translates directly into benefits for our residents. A thriving economy means more job opportunities, better services, and a higher quality of life. For our growing senior population, it means access to improved healthcare services, recreational facilities, and community programs. For families, it means better schools, safer neighborhoods, and a brighter future for our children.

Opportunity Zones and Economic Revitalization

New Castle County's Opportunity Zones offer tremendous potential for economic revitalization. By providing tax benefits to investors, these zones are designed to attract private sector investment to economically distressed areas. In New Castle County, these zones are located in Claymont, Downtown Wilmington, along Route 9 in New Castle, at the STAR Campus in Newark, and in Smyrna. These areas are ripe for investment and poised to become hubs of economic activity and job creation. We will actively promote and support these Opportunity Zones, revitalizing communities and creating a vibrant economic landscape that benefits all residents.

Launching a New Website

A new, user-friendly website is crucial for showcasing New Castle County's potential to the world. This platform will provide comprehensive information on business opportunities, streamline processes, and offer resources for businesses looking to relocate or expand in our County. It will serve as a one-stop shop for entrepreneurs, investors, and companies, reinforcing our commitment to transparency and accessibility.

A Commitment to Fiscal Responsibility

As County Executive, I will ensure that economic development goes hand in hand with fiscal responsibility. By fostering a business-friendly environment, we will increase our tax base without raising taxes. This approach will enable us to invest in essential services, infrastructure, and community programs, enhancing the quality of life for all residents.

A Proactive Approach

As County Executive, I will form a diverse committee dedicated to proactively seeking industries to locate in New Castle County. Working together, we will offer attractive incentives and streamline our processes to ensure that businesses can set up and start operations quickly and efficiently.

Enhancing Our Digital Presence

A first-rate website is often the first impression a business has of New Castle County. We will overhaul our existing site, ensuring it is user-friendly, informative, and a true reflection of the vibrant economic opportunities available here. Experts will be brought in to improve the design and functionality, making it a valuable resource for prospective businesses.

Commitment to Labor and Quality

I am a staunch supporter of Unions and Project Labor Agreements. These agreements ensure fair wages, safe working conditions, and high-quality outcomes for projects within the County. By supporting these agreements, we uphold our commitment to our workforce and the standards that make New Castle County a great place to live and work.

A Vision for the Future

As your next County Executive, I am committed to creating a thriving economic environment in New Castle County. My experience as President of New Castle County Council has equipped me with the knowledge and skills necessary to drive economic growth and job creation. Together, we will build a future where businesses prosper, residents enjoy a high quality of life, and New Castle County stands as a model of economic innovation and success.

Join Us in Shaping the Future

I invite business leaders and residents alike to join us on this exciting journey. Together, we can create a prosperous future for New Castle County, where innovation, opportunity, and growth are the hallmarks of our community. Let’s build a County that we can all be proud of—where businesses thrive, and residents flourish. Experience matters, and with your support, we will make New Castle County the best place to live, work, and do business.

Conclusion

In conclusion, my tenure as President of New Castle County Council has been marked by a dedication to economic development and job creation. With a proactive approach, improved processes, and a commitment to quality and labor support, I will continue to build on this foundation as your next County Executive. Together, we can make New Castle County the best County in the Country for businesses and residents alike. Experience matters, and with your support, we will achieve remarkable growth and prosperity.

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