Governor John Carney this week delivered his 2021 State of the State Address and presented his recommended state capital and operating spending plans for the new fiscal year that begins July 1.
The proposed budgets reflect the governor’s FY 2022 funding priorities for state government, linking his vision to quantifiable intention. To watch the presentation, click here.
Highlights of the governor’s proposed money bills include the following:
- The proposed FY 2022 General Fund Operating Budget is $4.706 billion — a $181 million increase over the current $4.525 billion spending plan.
- The State of Delaware is limited by law to spend no more than 98% of projected revenue. Based on the latest revenue estimate made in December, the state has an estimated $5.155 billion in spendable cash available for FY 2022. Subtracting the governor’s proposed operating budget of $4.706 billion leaves $449 million. Of this remaining money, $55.5 million is directed to Grants-in-Aid, $260.5 million will supplement the state’s budget for capital projects (building facilities, roads and schools), and $131 million will be set aside in a Budgetary Stabilization Fund (a.k.a. budget smoothing).
- Growth in the new Grants-in-Aid Bill — money the state gives to non-profit organizations performing community services — is virtually flat ($55.45 million currently to $55.50 million in FY 2022).
- The proposed capital budget would be the largest in state history, jumping from $707.9 million in the current fiscal year to $894.4 million in FY 2022. The new “Bond Bill” includes $377.1 million for transportation projects; $185 million for public school construction and renovation; $15 million for deferred school maintenance; and $30 million for improvements to the campuses of DelTech, Delaware State University, and the University of Delaware. Additionally, $50 million is earmarked to bolster Clean Water initiatives, and another $20 million will fund the state’s Open Space and Farmland Preservation programs.
- The governor is proposing an additional $10 million for Opportunity Funding — a program begun last year to aid Delaware public schools in helping low-income students and coping with the costs of educating English language learners (ELL).
- The governor is proposing $22.7 million to pay for a $500 across-the board salary increase for state employees. This figure includes funding to gradually phase-in a $15 hourly minimum wage for state employees.
- $3.6 million is proposed for “one-time contingency funding” for the development and deployment of body cameras for police. The governor expressed support in his State of the State Address to equip every law enforcement officer in the state with a body camera.
Legislative budget writers will take the spending plans proposed by the governor, altering them over the next several months to reflect their own collective sensibilities as well as the state’s evolving revenue estimates.
Unlike the federal government, Delaware is limited to spending no more than 98% of projected revenue, so the amount of cash available to be budgeted will change each time a forecast is issued. There will be four more revenue estimates that will be issued between now and the start of FY 2022.
PHOTO: Courtesy of the Office of Gov. John Carney