Delaware Update to Coronavirus Pandemic – Looking at Unemployment & the Budget Picture

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The positive cases of coronavirus in Delaware continue to trend upwards – however the early projections of the number of cases, hospitalizations remain higher than the actual numbers.  Governor John Carney stated again that before we can begin recovery – we need to see 28 days of declining cases and a widespread testing program underway. 

On Tuesday, the Governor brought Labor Secretary Cerron Cade and Office of Management and Budget Director Mike Jackson to the table.  Secretary Cade said that they’ve seen applications for unemployment benefits reach levels that they normally see in a two year period, but people are beginning to get their benefits.  As for independent contractors and those who are self-employed – Cade says this is an area they don’t normally deal with, so they are still working on putting the information together and hope to have it ready to roll out soon. 

Over the past several months, the Delaware Economic and Financial Advisory Council has seen revenue projections rise modestly.  Since the coronavirus pandemic became a reality, yesterday’s DEFAC numbers show a decrease in revenue of an estimated $784.5-million over two years.  Office of Management and Budget Director, Mike Jackson says Delaware is confronted by a two-year problem of being able to fund our current year budget and crafting a budget for FY 2021 in an environment where the revenue forecast is uncertain.  

Governor Carney said that going into the pandemic Delaware’s was in a good place with the proposed $4.4-billion budget.  Now – not so much and with the due dates for taxes pushed back and no visible end to the coronavirus pandemic – the budget crafters will have little to work with to finish the current fiscal year and budget for FY2021. 

The Governor was asked if the beaches might be open by Memorial Day, the traditional start of the summer season at the beach areas.  Going by the 28 day need of declining cases and the need for widespread testing to be underway, he remained optimistic and said, “we’ll see.”  But then went on with more explanation that left if more along the lines of “..but don’t hold your breath.”  And in the meantime – stay home, practice good hand washing, wear you face masks when you’re in stores and work to flatten that curve.