Legislative budget writers preparing the state spending plan for the upcoming fiscal year received some welcome news this week.
According to the Delaware Economic and Financial Advisory Council (DEFAC), the amount of spendable cash available to lawmakers increased by $429.3 million when compared to the last forecast issued in March.
The new forecast continues a trend. The state’s revenue estimate has risen by more than $953 million since October.
The DEFAC projections play a pivotal role in the budgetary process. Under state law, lawmakers cannot typically spend more than 98% of anticipated state revenues.
In January, Gov. John Carney presented the General Assembly with his recommended appropriations for FY 2022 that begins July 1st. His spending suggestions included a $4.706 billion operating budget; a $55.5 million Grants-in-Aid Bill; $260.5 million in cash to help finance the state capital budget; and $35.7 in one-time supplemental spending. In total, the governor’s recommendations came to $5.0579 billion.
Monday’s DEFAC projections indicate that the legislature’s Joint Finance Committee will have $5.9066 billion at their disposal — $848.7 million more than would be needed to finance all of the governor’s recommended spending.
The projections also indicate the state would have more than $843 million saved in a budgetary reserve account (budget stabilization fund).
The General Assembly is in recess for the next two weeks as the new FY 2022 operating budget is fine tuned. Last minute adjustments to the major spending bills will be made again next month when DEFAC issues its last revenue estimate prior to the start of the new fiscal year.