Update: FY ’22 Budget Approved, Sent To Gov. Carney
Update as of Thursday, June 24th:
The Delaware Fiscal Year 2022 budget is on its way to Governor John Carney for his signature.
The Senate Thursday approved an operating budget of 4.77-billion dollars, one day after House approval. Also, the Senate passed a 221-million dollar supplemental measure with one-time expenditures.
“This year’s budget process highlights so much of what makes Delaware a great state and why our way of governing consistently earns us a AAA bond rating,” Senator Trey Paradee, D-Dover, Joint Finance Committee co-chair said. “Even with the turbulence of the past year, we managed to carefully track revenue forecasts and fund much-needed programs and projects, all while keeping budget growth below 5%. Additionally, we added over $220 million to budget stabilization and the rainy day fund, bringing those totals to $538 million saved for future economic downturns. None of this would be possible without the diligence of our committee members and Controller General staff. I thank them for their hard work and all of my Senate colleagues for passing these bills today.”
“As I always say, passing a balanced annual budget is our only constitutional obligation as a General Assembly, and I think we can all be proud of the work done this year to fulfill that duty,” House Speaker Pete Schwartzkopf, D-Rehoboth Beach said. “This budget will help Delaware emerge from the pandemic with renewed investments in quality schools for children from all walks of life, public safety in our communities, and health care services for our most vulnerable neighbors.”
Notable items in the budget bills include:
- $17.2 million to increase reimbursement rates for Direct Support Professionals serving adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities, fulfilling the promise of phased-in progress toward funding benchmarks established in the McNesby Act
- $2.6 million to increase rates for home-based nursing care
- $16 million for student mental health services, including $8 million to fully fund the placement of a mental health professional in every Delaware elementary school.
- $22 million in additional education Opportunity Funds to address the needs of low income and English learner students.
- $10.2 million for the Redding Consortium to advance educational equity for students in the City of Wilmington and northern New Castle County.
- $4.3 million toward expansion of SEED and Inspire scholarships for Delaware students.
- $5.2 million to implement a statewide body-worn camera program for police officers
- $1 million to fund a primary care physician loan repayment program.
- $1 million implement a property tax credit for disabled veterans.
- A stable and supportive pay and benefits package for state workers and retirees, which includes:
- A $500 pay increase for all state workers, as well as a one-time bonus of $1,000 to be distributed in November.
- A 1% pay increase for educators, in addition to salary steps.
- $20 million in contingency funds to cover projected state employee health insurance costs and ensure employees incur no rate increases this fiscal year.
- Raises of 1-3% for state pensioners, based on years of retirement, as well as a one-time bonus of $500 to be distributed in November.
Delaware’s Fiscal Year 2022 operating budget is moving forward.
“We were fortunate this year that, even in the wake of a global pandemic, we had the resources and the will to make the kind of investments that will strengthen our state’s economy, support our workers and retirees, and broaden educational opportunities for our children up and down the state,” Joint Finance Committee co-chair Representative Bill Carson, D- Smyrna said. “I want to thank co-chair Senator Paradee, my fellow members of the Joint Finance Committee, Controller General Ruth Ann Jones and her dedicated staff, as well as all of my colleagues in the House for their support today.”
“I’m proud of the work our committee did this year,” JFC co-chair Senator Trey Paradee, D-Dover added. “This is a state that prides itself on building a balanced budget, year after year, while ensuring that each resident gets the basic services they need to succeed. This budget does that while also setting aside savings for the future. Maintaining a strong, solvent, and equitable state starts here, and I join my House colleagues in celebrating the passage of the FY22 budget.”
As approved, the budget increases spending 4.94 percent over the current fiscal year. Sponsors said it’s balanced, sets aside savings for the future, and makes new investments into public schools, higher education and health care services.
The bills go to the State Senate for consideration. A capital budget, or bond bill, is still in negotiation.