In thier inauguration addresses at Legislative Hall in Dover, the new executives said it's time for Delaware to tighten its belt.


    Both Gov. Jack Markell and Lt. Gov. Matt Denn forewarned Delaware residents to expect serious sacrifices in the months ahead during their ceremonial inauguration in front of Legislative Hall Jan. 21.

    Facing a crowd of approximately 400, the two men replayed the swearing-in they had taken a little more than a day earlier at the University of Delaware.

    Both stressed that it’s time for Delawareans to tighten their belts and face the hard economic times ahead.

    “Delaware’s credo can’t be ‘What’s in it for me,’” said Denn during his address.

    Markell, likewise, asked the help of Delaware residents.

    “It’s not these challenges but how we meet them that will define us as a people,” Markell said.

    With a $100 million shortfall for the remainder of the 2009 budget and a projected half-billion dollar deficit for 2010, Markell equated the state’s task to that of everyday families struggling to make ends meet, from cutting back on energy expenses to forgoing vacations.

    “We will trim every piece of fat from the budget,” Markell said. “I believe there are millions of dollars of waste.”

    In order to balance the budget, the governor mentioned cutting state expenses and programs but made no mention of a tax increase.

    Markell then spoke of improving certain programs such as providing affordable healthcare for residents and public education.

    “We must make Delaware education the best in the world,” he said. “We currently rank in the top for spending and it’s time students ranked in the top for learning.”

    And in keeping with a campaign promise, he said his administration would work under a new era of openness.

    “I pledge my administration will be more transparent and accountable than any before,” he said.

Email Melissa Steele at melissa.steele@doverpost.com