Governor John Carney on Thursday presented his Fiscal Year 2021 Recommended Budget, sending the Delaware General Assembly a financial plan that invests in the state’s economy, environment, and education system.
“We presented a responsible budget plan today that makes investments to improve our economy, strengthen our public schools, and protect Delaware’s unique quality of life,” Governor Carney said while presenting his budget proposal.
$50 million would be allocated under the Governor’s proposal to establish a Clean Water Trust account to clean up Delaware’s drinking water and waterways, including increased funding for low-income and underserved communities.
“This plan makes significant new investments to clean up Delaware’s drinking water and waterways,” Governor Carney said. “We are also investing in new school construction, and in classrooms throughout the state – not only because it’s the right thing to do, but because the future of our state depends on the success of our children.”
Another $50 million would go towards key investments in education in Wilmington, including building a new school on the city’s East Side and several renovations at various schools.
The Governor also touted a strong and growing economy as part of his proposal, allocating another $50 million through modernizing infrastructure, focusing on small businesses and fostering a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship.
As part of the Governor’s Capital Transportation Plan, $4.5 billion of the budget would go towards modernizing the state’s transportation systems through 2026
$75 million would be allocated for English language learners and low-income students, according to Governor’s proposal. In addition, investments would also be made under this funding to increase mental health support in Delaware schools.
Also outlined in the budget proposal was early childhood investments, specifically increasing access to pre-kindergarten education.
Governor Carney proposed a 2-percent increase for teachers and public school educators across the state as part of a $29 million allocation in his budget proposal.
School constructions and renovations statewide would receive around $183 million, and just over $36 million would be set aside for enrollement growth along with $4.6 million for school technology infrastructure improvements.
$20 million would go towards funding for the Higher Education Economic Development Investment Fund to supplement investments that Delaware’s institutes of higher education are making to improve job growth and economic development.
Several investments would be made to open space and farmland preservation, setting aside $20 million for that purpose, and $14 million for affordable housing and efforts to clean up abandoned properties across the state.
Governor Carney recommended setting aside $161.5 million on appropriations, and limiting operating budget growth to 3.99 percent. This is less than the appropriation benchmark calculated by the Delaware Economic and Financial Advisory Council.
“We’re continuing to make capital investments to modernize our roads, bridges, and public transit. But we are also we continuing our responsible budget plan, which sets aside $161.5 million in savings to help prepare for years when our revenue trends downward,” Governor Carney said. “This is a balanced, responsible plan that I look forward to discussing with members of the General Assembly.”
Governor Carney also proposed a 2-percent pay raise for State employees and continued support of parental paid leave.
The Governor’s proposal was presented to the Joint Finance Committee in the General Assembly who are responsible for drafting a budget that has to be approved by all lawmakers before the deadline in June.