Candidate Danaher’s research is faulty

August 23, 2013

In the Aug. 20, edition of the Cape Gazette Kara Nuzback reported on Ellen Danaher’s decision to become a candidate for commissioner in the upcoming September election in the Town of Dewey Beach. The piece devoted three full paragraphs to Danaher’s views on the town’s budget and finance committee’s recommendation to the town that it adopt a gross receipts tax on in-town retail businesses

Danaher stated that she applied her expert researcher skills to determine the legality of the proposal and she discovered that the tax would be illegal because state law prohibits the taxation of alcohol by anyone but the state.

Unfortunately, Ms. Danaher misread or did not understand the language of Title 4 Section 584 of the Delaware Code. The language of the section is not simple to comprehend, but the budget and finance committee believed its provision for no taxation other than by the state did not apply to a receipts tax on the restaurant/bars in town.

Just to be certain, however, the committee sought and received legal advice from two law firms with regards to the legality of the proposed gross receipts tax under Title 4, Section 584 of the state code. The advice from both firms, both of which currently serve as counsel to the town, was that the tax was allowed by the provisions of that section of the code

It would have been better had Ms. Danaher done the same by checking with the committee as to whether it had been aware of 4 Del. Code, Section 584. Had she done so, she most assuredly would not have made the disparaging and discrediting remarks about the committee’s activity to Ms. Nuzback.

It is one thing to be a researcher operating within your area of knowledge. It is another thing to be a trusted holder of public office dealing with complicated issue in unfamiliar areas of knowledge. None of us is all-knowing, but a most basic rule of trying to deal with such issues is to check out your understanding of them with the experts.

In so doing in the future, Ms. Danaher might avoid making unwarranted allegations about poor performance on the part of others such as she made about the town budget and finance committee and were quoted in the Aug. 20 Gazette article.

Courtney Riordan
chairman, budget and finance committee

Town of Dewey Beach



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