It’s been a busy week in Dover. State lawmakers have introduced a series of new laws on everything from tax reform to cybersecurity. Here’s a roundup of some of the most significant proposed/passed legislation:
Coastal Zone Act reform – introduced
HB 190, or the Coastal Zone Conversion Permit Act, would make it easier for companies to bring new industrial uses to the Delaware coastline. Under the current law, passed in 1971, the waterfront is restricted to a limited number of industrial uses based on existing sites. The bill’s sponsors tout it as a much-needed update to an outdated law. Environmentalists see it as an attack on one of the state’s most important protections against coastal pollution.
Corporate tax increases – passed the House
HB 175 will raise the maximum corporate franchise tax from $180,000 to $200,000. Set to take effect July 1, the bill is expected to raise an additional $115 million a year for the state. Gov. John Carney supports the bill as a means of closing the nearly $400 million budget gap facing the state.
Estate tax to be eliminated – passed the House
HB 16 would eliminate the estate tax in Delaware. Analysts estimate the loss of the tax would cost the state $3.7 million in revenue. Supporters say the estate tax actually costs the state money because it pushes wealthy residents out of the state.
Cybersecurity bill – introduced
HB 180 would require “any person who conducts business in Delaware and maintains personal information must safeguard that information.” It will also raise the bar on what constitutes a breach of security by including “unauthorized access, use, modification, or disclosure of personal information and the information that is included in the definition of personal information.”