|JULY 1, 2022 — The three most impactful bills the General Assembly passed this year were signed into law by Gov. John Carney this week: the operating budget, the capital budget, and the Grants-in-Aid Bill.|
The state’s new major appropriations measures are for Fiscal Year 2023, which begins today (July 1).
The $5.099 billion state operating budget (Senate Bill 250) is the first to cross the $5 billion threshold. The new spending plan is $328 million larger than the one it replaces — a substantial increase of 6.87%. It includes pay increases for state employees (inclusive of 2% to 9% increases for all merit employees) and hikes compensation for school bus drivers.
Public education continues to be the biggest single item in the budget. At $1.832 billion, the state’s share of public school operational costs accounts for nearly 36 cents of every dollar spent. The bulk of the funding is tied to the salaries of the 15,796 people working in Delaware’s school districts and charter schools.
The Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS) is the second leading budget expenditure. The $1.361 billion is approximately 26.7% of state’s operational spending. The DHSS funding includes $791 million for the state’s share of Medicaid, a state-federal health care program for eligible low-income families, seniors, blind, and disabled people.
Combined spending for public education and DHSS is responsible for 62.59% of the state operating budget.
The new Bond Bill (House Bill 475) is a whopping $1.458 billion, topping the previous year’s record capital budget. It is more than twice the size of the $707.9 million plan from just two years ago.
The omnibus bill funds the state’s major construction, renovation, and transportation projects through a mixture of cash and borrowing financed through the selling of bonds. Most of the new plan (58.6%) is paid for in cash.
Some of the larger expenditures in the Bond Bill include:
$378.7 million for school construction and renovation;
$310.7 million for transportation projects;
$80 million is earmarked for new Family Court facilities in Kent and Sussex counties;
$42 million is allotted for new Delaware State Police facilities for Troop 4 (Georgetown) and Troop 6 (Wilmington);
$26.8 million for nine library projects;
$20 million (combined) for the Open Space and Farmland Preservation programs;
$10 million for the State Clean Water Revolving Fund.
The Grants-in-Aid Bill (Senate Bill 252) allocates more than $69.3 million, mainly to assist hundreds of non-profit organizations performing work benefiting Delawareans. The appropriation is an increase of 9.65% from the former GIA bill, which had set the previous record.
Included in the bill are $8.16 million for volunteer fire companies, $8.5 million for senior centers, and more than $498,000 to help organizations serving veterans. The measure also includes $14.2 million to subsidize emergency medical services (paramedics).
Also enacted was a $378.6 million supplemental appropriations bill (Senate Bill 251). The “one-time” spending measure is about 71% larger than the $221.1 million supplemental appropriations bill enacted last year. The bill includes funding for the implementation of paid family leave, a $500 bonus for state employees, and deposits to cover state pensions hikes.
|State’s Major “Money Bills” Enacted|