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DEPARTMENT OF FINANCE
In 1970 the legislature moved aggressively to restructure the government of the State of Delaware in an effort to streamline it and increase its efficiency. Part of this restructuring involved the creation of a centralized financial unit which monitored all of the income and expenditures of the State. This department, the Department of Finance, is still a functioning unit of the State government and is administered by a director, the Secretary of Finance, who is appointed by the Governor with the advice and consent of the Senate. The Secretary has the power to supervise, direct, and account for the operation of the Department, its divisions, subdivisions, offices, functions, and employees; to establish or abolish divisions and to appoint and fix the salary of the division directors with written approval of the Governor; to appoint other necessary personnel; to make and enter into contracts for services necessary to keep the Department functioning; to delegate his/her authority; to make rules and regulations regarding the operation of the Department; to maintain Department facilities throughout the State; and to adopt an official seal.1
The early Department of Finance was composed of the Division of Accounting, the Division of the Treasury, the Division of Revenue, the Tax Appeal Board, and the Board of Pension Trustees. Each division subsumed one or more previously existing State agencies, and each was responsible to the Director of the Department.
The Division of Accounting assumed the powers, duties, and functions of the Budget Director. As such, its responsibilities included overseeing all of the financial activities of any agency of the State, monitoring the propriety of all expenditures, and reporting any irregularities to the General Assembly, Attorney General, and the Budget Director. This Division continues to function in essentially the same manner in 1989 within the current Department of Finance.2
The Division of Revenue assumed the powers, functions, and responsibilities of the State Tax Department, the Tax Commissioner, and the Collector of State Revenue. Since its creation in 1970, the office has also performed all of the executive, administrative, ministerial, fiscal, and clerical functions of the State Tax Board. Additionally, the Division has the power to perform, and is responsible for, the proper performance of the following powers: the issuance of licenses, permits, or other documents, the filing of affidavits or other documents relating thereto, and the enforcement of payments and collections thereof for the licenses, permits, etc. In 1981 the Division of Revenue assumed the responsibility for promulgating the rules and regulations governing all taxes and fees paid by any boxing arena and the participants thereto or any other site associated with such a match. Beginning in 1983 legislation required the Division to submit a biennial report to the Governor and the General Assembly concerning the advantages and/or disadvantages to anticipate State tax revenue from the various tax preferences that exist within the State.3
The State Tax Board was renamed the Tax Appeal Board during the restructuring and placed within the Department of Finance. It was vested with the membership, remuneration, organization, meetings, powers, duties, and functions of the earlier Board. Additionally it had the power to hear complaints and appeals from the decisions or rulings of the Director of Revenue. Again, this Board continues within the present Department with essentially the same responsibilities and powers it was given in 1970.4
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DEPARTMENT OF FINANCE
When the Division of the Treasury was created, it assumed the powers, responsibilities, and functions previously vested in the State Treasurer and the State Tax Board. The Division was also accountable for the clerical administration of all State pension funds and for the determination of eligibility for nondisability retirement benefits. With respect to pensions, then, the Division assumed roles previously held by the State Treasurer, the Secretary of the State Board of Education, and the Board of State Judiciary Pension Trustees. In 1974 the legislature made the office of the State Treasurer once again an independent cabinet level agency within the executive branch of the State government. This reduced the role of this Division considerably. Its duties have centered on the clerical administration of all State pension funds, the determination of eligibility of nondisability retirement pension benefits, and the determination of eligibility for paraplegic veterans’ benefits since that time. Effective July 2, 1987, the Division of the Treasury was placed “under the oversight of the Board of Pension Trustees” by an act of the General Assembly.5
The Board of Pension Trustees was the fifth division created within the Department of Finance. At its inception, the Board had the control and management of the State pension funds as well as the power and duty to hear appeals from the decision or action of the Division of the Treasury. The Board, then, had assumed the responsibilities, duties, and functions regarding pensions of the Arbitration Committee, the Disability Commission, the State Board of Education, the Superintendent of the Delaware State Hospital, the Board of State Judiciary Pension Trustees, and the State Police Pension Board. Additionally, it adopted the rules and regulations of all State pension plans; appointed an actuary; prepared and published an annual report for the General Assembly; maintained and invested pension funds; made and entered into contracts with State agencies for the efficient administration of all pension funds; determined interest rates credited to employee contributions; and issued subpoenas, administered oaths, and examined any witnesses necessary for the proper discharge of pension duties. The Board of Pension Trustees, while legislatively residing in the Department of Finance, operated out of the Office of the State Treasurer for many years. The 135th General Assembly in July 1989 determined that the Director of State Personnel would assume responsibility for the clerical administration of the State pension fund. For further information on the Board of Pension Trustees current duties and membership, see RG 1307, Office of State Personnel.6
The Secretary of the Department oversees all of the activities of the Divisions, appoints their directors, and appoints, with gubernatorial approval, the Director of the State Lottery Office. The Secretary also prepares an annual report for the Governor and the General Assembly detailing the operations of the entire Department. In 1988 legislation was passed which required all political subdivisions within the State to notify the Secretary of their intent to issue revenue bonds.7 The mission and objectives of the Department as set forth in 1989 are to maintain the fair, effective, and efficient revenue collection of State taxes and business licenses; to inform and assist the public in their legal responsibilities; to prepare revenue reports; to pre-audit and process documents which reflect State financial transactions; to assist in the development of the State’s accounting policies and practices; and to maintain the effective administration of the State lottery.8
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DEPARTMENT OF FINANCE
1 57 DL, ch. 549.
2 Ibid.; 1978 Delaware Code, § 8304.
3 Ibid.; 1978 Delaware Code, § 8305; 58 DL, ch. 468; 63 DL, ch. 150; 65 DL, ch. 271.
4 57 DL, ch. 549; 1978 Delaware Code, § 8306.
5 57 DL, ch. 549; 1978 Delaware Code, § 8307; 66 DL, ch. 85, § 94.
6 57 DL, ch. 549; 1978 Delaware Code, § 8308; 65 DL, ch. 131, ch. 443; 67 DL, ch. 47, § 62, 63.
7 57 DL, ch. 549; 60 DL, ch. 539; 66 DL, ch. 360.
8 1989 Proposed Budget, volume 1.
sle/June 27, 1989; sle/revised August 8, 1989.