CRI’s Impact Delaware SCORECARD

Through the help of our many supporters and volunteers, CRI has made considerable impact in many areas that affect the quality of life for us all.  With your help we can do more to “Impact Delaware”!

Did you know CRI has:

*Provided testimony to the Public Service Commission to offer credible evidence the Bloom Energy deal was bad both for ratepayers and for the environment?

*Supported a bill to bring Education Savings Accounts to Delaware families whose cannot afford to move their children out of a poorly performing public school? With Delaware dead last in student SAT scores but outspending 42 states and D.C. we cannot afford to continue to watch taxpayer dollars get misused while student achievement is not improving.

*Saved electric ratepayers in eastern Sussex County an average of $310 a year by working with the Public Advocate’s office and Public Service Commission to introduce a natural gas pipeline expansion downstate?

*Pushed the Public Service Commission to change how Solar Renewal Energy Certificates (SREC) are auctioned, making the bidding process open to more competition among electric providers and saving Delaware ratepayers an additional $115 million?

 

We are fighting every day to make Delaware a good place to work and live but we cannot do it without your support. Please consider a generous donation today.

 

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Is it true that there is not one teacher in Delaware who is ineffective in the classroom?

After reading Matthew Albright’s article in the News Journal (“Virtually no Delaware Teachers Received Poor Evaluations”) those of us who are enthusiastic about improving the quality of education in Delaware had to stop and ask ourselves this question: Are there really no teachers in Delaware who are ineffective at teaching children?

We understand that ever-changing “standards” and severe fluctuations in education dollars for public schools makes teaching difficult for many who enter the profession. At the same time Delaware’s 51st overall ranking in SAT scores (mandatory testing was factored in and we are still last) should be considered unacceptable, despite whatever rankings the state was coming up with on the DCAS testing. The fact that two-thirds of all students, and four-fifths of low income, Black, and Hispanic students, cannot read or write at a grade level comparable to their peers in other states should be considered unacceptable.

There should be accountability for the two-grade gap between White students and Black and Hispanic students, particularly students in Wilmington and Dover. There should be accountability for why, despite the mediocre to poor results in Delaware’s public schools, the state has the fourth highest ratio of administrators to students and why Delaware employs as many “support staffers” as they do teachers in the public schools.

There should be accountability for why, out of $435,000 per classroom per year the state spends, 80 percent is not spent in the classroom.

Does anyone living in Delaware not think Wilmington has real problems? Wilmington and Dover, two areas with higher than average crime rates, would benefit from better education which will come only when there is a real movement for education reform.

Terri Hodges, president of the state PTA, was quoted as saying, “We support a fair evaluation system, but we can’t say that 99 percent of teachers are effective when we look at the number of student’s we’re seeing reaching proficiency or how we stack up to other states.”

We agree with Ms. Hodges on this statement. We would like to see a review of the Delaware Performance Appraisal System (DPAS) which is supposed to make sure ineffective teachers are removed from the classroom. Children are a nation’s most valuable asset and without well-educated children America will not be able to compete with children in other nations for jobs which offer good wages and a sense of security.

All of this starts with the Delaware Department of Education, the Delaware State Education Association, and the Markell Administration. Eventually the government and the public will have to acknowledge the poor service the state is providing education-wise to Delaware’s children. The first step will be to review this DPAS evaluation system to make sure it is there to protect students’ education and not teachers’ jobs. The second step will be to stop treating non-public schools as the enemy and instead welcome the opportunity to prove why public schools are a good option for parents and families through innovations where the student and parents are the VIPs and not the administrators in charge of collecting and disbursing funds. No child should be forced to play guinea-pig with her or his education experience to try out “standards” which have never been tested before. We at CRI hope the state and public will listen.

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How Pennsylvania Can Save Money on Contractors Insurance: Review Your Loss Runs

This post is among a chain of tips to help business owners save substantial sums of money on business insurance. Contractors Insurance is no exception. Now, we will discuss loss runs, which are significant to any buyer of company insurance, who needs to spend less. They’re also referred to as coverage history reports, but are more generally called loss runs.

Failure to get whole loss runs in time is a main reason behind overpaying for company insurance. No one can correctly quote your insurance without presently valued loss runs. Keep coordinated as I’m describing, and you may prevent the following blunders that are high-priced:

• Having agents & insurance companies think they have full control of your renewal. That means you’ll never be able to get estimates from anybody, even if you’ve got your loss runs. You can’t, unforunately anyways, if you do not have them.
• Having a last minute disaster due to the sad case of a missing loss run.
• Becoming dismissed by underwriters, who view your applications for quotes as incomplete with no loss runs.

So let’s find out: What’re loss runs?

Loss runs are basically a simple report from an insurance company demonstrating claims you’ve had for your insurance coverage. It should reveal a list for each claim and their claim number, the policy number, effective dates, amount paid, amount allowed, and sum incurred. Premiums paid for the coverage can additionally be shown by it.

Why are they significant? Failure to get loss run reports at the ideal times is a main cause for overpaying big amounts of cash. If your loss runs can’t be obtained by you, no one can give you exact quotes — they would need that crucial data to move forward.

Are getting loss runs not easy? Why not?:
Without loss runs, agents understand their customers cannot get competitive PA contractors insurance quotes without them. Brokers scarcely give them to customers voluntarily, to prevent more rivalry that is unwanted.

Agents frequently attempt to use the time constraints to collect as much control over your renewal as possible, and can sometimes wait before handing over loss runs to customers. New and competing Agents may then find that loss runs can’t be reviwed on policies you’ve signed through other agents. Not making sure this information is collected can be a total costly error that may also create a renewal catastrophe that is unwanted for any business owner.

What’s the alternative? Gathering and coordinating this information on your own is essential to securing your loss runs. You certainly want a spreadsheet listing all the policies you’ve had now, and those you have had in the previous five to six years. Make sure the following information is on it:

• Start Date – When did the policy begin?
• End Date – Or slated end date.
• Coverage Amount – This is important.
• Premium – use the final premium that is audited.
• Absolute claims paid – amounts paid by the insurance company.
• Total claims incurred – the amount of incurred and paid.
• Kind of Coverage – Surety Bonds, Contractors Business Insurance, etc.
• Name, telephone, facsimile, email address of individual who releases the loss run.

A superb method to get this to occur would simply be to ask your agent for it. Declare that it’s an emergency, if your agent cannot be asked to give this to you otherwise. Insist your agent deliver this to you and put it together.

You want the policy history rows sorted by beginning date, subsequently by line of coverage. That manner you are going to see the five to six years for each line, in chronological sequence which is both tidy and simple for everyone involved. For each line, you can add the claims and the premiums to find how much cash you’re making the insurance companies. It’s generally a lot, but with this information, you may be able to reign some of that cost.

What is Excess Workers Compensation?

Far too many business owners, executives, managers, or other corporate decision makers underestimate the value of an excess workers compensation insurance policy. Most view a general liability policy as sufficient to meet their needs, or worse yet, think that this is an area where money can be saved by going with lesser options. Often, the end result of these errors in judgment is having to pay a large portion of a settlement directly from a company’s own assets, which can spell financial disaster for some businesses.

No Company is Immune from Accidents

With an excess workers compensation policy (or an “umbrella policy,” as it’s often referred to), a company is allowed monetary resources beyond that which is expected from general liability insurance. Such coverage can be ideal for dealing with business –related accidents involving:

  • Company or employee vehicles
  • Equipment
  • Dangerous working conditions

Many may feel as through such coverage is unnecessary given their line of work, yet the truth is that no one is immune from a work-related accident, be it a manager getting in to a car accident on the way to a meeting, or an employee slipping and falling in the company parking lot. For just a few extra dollars on top of one’s other insurance premiums, his or her company will be protected against high injury-related expenses or litigation stemming from workplace accidents.

Why sacrifice peace-of-mind for a quick buck? Those who ignore the potential of a catastrophic injury to one of their employees being able to send their businesses into financial ruin are just inviting such a scenario to happen. On the other hand, by accepting the small extra monthly expense that a good excess workers compensation policy offers, one guarantees that his or her company will be protected against any future injury-related crises.

A Homeowner’s Insurance Guide to Orlando

Let us face it, nobody actually loves shopping. Regrettably, it’s one of those essentials of life. Not only is getting homeowner’s insurance a good move in Orlando, FL to shield yourself and your property, it is the law.

Florida has really rigorous insurance conditions. In reality, these conditions are considerably more demanding now than they were a decade past.

It isn’t always the greatest move, while this may save time and discouragement. Simply as it is the one you have used before sticking with your same business, could set you back a bundle with time. It’s smart in regards time to shop around every year. You can be saved a fortune over the long run by spending a bit of time one time a year. Below are some tips to finding homeowner’s insurance that is right for you.

Realize Your Needs

Make sure you realize your insurance needs, before you begin shopping. Did you do some dwelling? Did you purchase some personal property that is valuable? Are you able to manage a greater deductible and, hence, reduce your premium? You should confirm that you’re trying to find a coverage which is up to date with your present needs, although not only should you shop around to find the best rate annually.

How you start locating your Florida homeowner’s insurance may make a big difference in just how long spent doing the best deal and how readily you get it. If you are using phone representative or a captive agent you then can just check one insurance company at a time out. What this means is that you’re going to spend lots of time shopping to your homeowner’s insurance.

Not only is it a major hassle, but you can not actually be sure you will get the absolute best deal to fulfill your needs. You don’t have a means of being sure that you simply have checked out every insurance company that is potential. These captive brokers are also quite likely to attempt to upsell their insurance that you may not necessarily want.

Using broker or an unaffiliated insurance agent is a considerably cleverer way. Your independent broker can assess prices to make certain that you will get the most effective rate. Your independent broker may also discuss the numerous kinds of coverage available so you understand you will get the precise coverage that you want to meet with your needs.

How to opt out of your union contract

Original post from the National Employee Freedom Week movement http://employeefreedomweek.com/state/delaware/

National Employee Freedom Week takes place every August; this year workers’ rights to not be forced to pay union dues as a condition of employment takes place August 10-16.

_______________________

Because Delaware is not a Right-to-Work state, your freedom to leave your union is restricted, but you still have options to leave or reduce your union membership.

The first option is to become an agency fee payer, which means you only pay dues for the union’s cost of collective bargaining, contract administration and grievance adjustment. As an agency fee payer, you do not pay for any other activities, including the union’s political activities.

As an agency fee payer, you are not a member of the union, but since you continue to pay the “representative” portion of your dues, the union must continue to represent you fairly and without discrimination in all matters subject to collective bargaining.

As an agency fee payer you are still entitled to every benefit under the labor contract with your employer, including health care, pension, step increases, etc.

A generic letter to become an agency fee payer is here. You will need your union’s address and contact information. We recommend that you make a copy of your letter and either deliver it in person and receive a stamped copy or mail it with Certified Mail Return Receipt Requested Signature. This protects you in case, a union boss “loses” your letter. We also recommend sending a copy of the letter to your employer’s payroll department.

Although the generic agency fee payer letter includes text noting that your objection is continuing and permanent, some unions will not respect this and will make you annually resubmit your refund request.

For a smooth exit, you may have to leave during specific opt-out timeframe or “window.” Ask your union for a copy of your signed enrollment form to determine when your window is.

Download a generic agency fee payer letter.

The second option is to become a religious or conscientious objector. If you would like to become a religious or conscientious objector, go to ChooseCharity.org. ChooseCharity.org includes a simple application process that requires no additional out-of-pocket costs.

Once the application is submitted, the ChooseCharity legal staff will take care of the rest of the process.

If you become a religious or conscientious objector, your full dues equivalent will be deducted but made payable a charitable fund exempt from taxation under Section 501(c)(3) of Title 26 of the Internal Revenue Code. You will not be a member of the union, but are still entitled to every benefit under the labor contract with your employer, including health care, pension, step increases, etc.

If you think you may want to become a religious or conscientious objector, it is important that you do not request to be an agency fee payer.

State laws can differ depending on your profession, please consult with an employee rights organization if you have questions about your specific situation.

More Information About Your Rights

All Employees:

National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation

Workplace Fairness Institute

Your Rights (Center for Union Facts)

Unions and Union Dues (American Center for Law and Justice)

For Teachers:

Teacher Rights (AAE)

Coalition of Educators Against Forced Unionism

 

The bottom line is you, as an employee, should not be forced to pay dues to any entity you do not choose to without your consent. There is a reason private sector unionism is down: while pro-union proponents blame entities like CRI for being “anti-union” the reality is that the biggest push to end forced unionization comes from the employees themselves who are unionized and who see hundreds or thousands of union dues dollars taken from worker’s paychecks, especially at a time when household incomes are shrinking, to support political causes or union activities the rank and file do not agree with.

If you are interested in learning more about how you can legally leave your union and not pay union dues but still keep your job, please click on the links or call us at (302) 273-0080 or e-mail us at info@caesarrodney.org.

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How government and business can work together to stop you from even trying

The Wall Street Journal ran an article yesterday based on a longer study by the Brooking Institute on the trend of the average age of businesses in America aging:

“Why it’s worrying that U.S. Companies are Getting Older”

“Older firms are increasingly controlling the largest market share in different sectors of the economy, according to a paper by the Brooking Institution’s Robert E. Litan and Ennsyte Economics’s Ian Hathaway. By 2011, the portion of U.S. businesses aged at least 16 years reached 34%, compared to 23% in 1992. Moreover, those mature companies went from employing only 60% of private-sector workers in 1992 to employing nearly three quarters of the private-sector labor force in 2011.

The report attributes this trend to declining entrepreneurship, among other reasons. The rate of new business creation in the U.S. has been constantly shrinking in the past three decades. “The decline in new firm formation rates had occurred in every U.S. state and nearly every metropolitan area, in each broad industry group, and in all firm size classes,” the authors explain.

Moreover, it has become more difficult for younger companies to survive and compete with the bigger ones. Business failures are more frequent and likely among start-ups, which may account for the fall in business creation after the 1990s. The economy has grown more advantageous for incumbent firms and less helpful for fledgling ones.

The authors argue that younger companies are crucial to attaining a healthier economy as they have had the largest contribution to past “disruptive and thus highly productivity enhancing innovations” across different sectors ranging from airplanes and automobiles to computers and internet search.

“If we want a vibrant, rapidly growing economy in the future, we must find ways to encourage and make room for the start-ups of the future that will commercialize similarly influential innovations,” said the authors.”

 The first chart shows that more businesses close than open, which includes start-ups which fail. Nearly 90 percent of all businesses fail within 10 years. The second chart shows a specific breakdown by industry.

 

 

 

This is not difficult to understand: new business face the inherent challenges of promoting a brand of a product or service in the face of well-established, existing brands. Why try something new when the old version works for you? Then you add in the high tax rates, high energy costs regulation compliance costs, all sorts of entry fees (examples include taxi medallions and occupational licenses), and new laws pushed by the old businesses, mainly larger firms, which drive out the smaller competitors who cannot keep up with the ever-increases taxes and regulations, and the result is that fewer and fewer people even consider starting up a new business, and those who do are more likely to keep the size small enough to handle the taxes and compliance requirements  manage rather than spend energy trying to grown the business or make it more profitable. This is a significant reason why most of the new start-ups are companies which do not need a lot of energy use or space, such as a tech start-up where one only needs a computer with the right programming and internet access and which can be done from an apartment or coffee shop. The problem is that not everyone knows how to, or is capable of, learning to code and managing a computer-based business. On the downside there are fewer start-ups in other sectors of the economy like construction and manufacturing which can offer good-paying jobs needed for many working Americans. Start-ups provide people with job opportunities and can create new ideas which make civilization’s progress better for more and more people. Just imagine a world with no light bulbs, automobiles, or commercial internet access, for example.

The short- and medium-term implications is that this is a disaster decades in the making. Fewer competitors in a particular sector means less choice, which inevitably leads to higher prices and a lower quality product or service because the incentive to be better disappears if either a) you do not have competition or b) if you can simply lobby the government’s elected and unelected officials to devise ways to limit or defeat the competition’s ability to challenge the “established” brands. The resulting weakness in economic growth then fuels the “need” for stimulus dollars, tax credits, and subsidies to keep certain businesses competitive, rather than allow the private marketplace to decide what is valuable and what is not. But even in this way we are only taking money from those who produce and redistributing the wealth to those who are well-connected or who are in the business those in charge of the money deem “sustainable business.”

This is what cronyism does to the economy: it will enrich the well-connected and wealthy while making prosperity harder and harder for an increasingly few people. We are past the debate as to whether cronyism harms economic growth; the question is if and when the majority of people will recognize the problem and stand with organizations like CRI in opposing cronyism and the devaluing of the dollar.

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