ICYMI: Governor Carney Presents Fiscal Year 2022 Recommended Budget

Plan focuses on rebuilding economy and reserves, investing in education and environment

WILMINGTON, Del. – Governor Carney on Thursday presented his Fiscal Year 2022 Recommended Budget virtually, sending the General Assembly a plan that will make important investments in rebuilding Delaware’s economy, investing in public schools, and preserving our environment.

Click here to download Governor Carney’s Fiscal Year 2022 budget presentation.

“When the COVID-19 crisis hit, we were able to balance our budget without cutting critical services because we kept our promise to build a long-term, sustainable financial plan. This budget proposal will continue to protect taxpayer dollars while making investments where they’re needed most,” said Governor Carney. “Our priorities remain the same. We will rebuild our economy and create good jobs, invest in our public schools for all Delaware children, and strengthen communities across our state. This proposal includes the largest infrastructure program in Delaware history, historic investments to support disadvantaged students, and additional investments to clean up our drinking water and preserve farmland. We’ll also continue to support our state workers, who have stepped up for their neighbors time and again throughout this crisis. I want to thank members of the General Assembly for their partnership and for their consideration of this budget.” 

###


Reminder: FY 2022 Budget Hearings To Be Held Virtually Nov 9 – 20

In accordance with 29 Del. C. §6332, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) will hold virtual public hearings from November 9, 2020 through November 20, 2020 to review and take public comment on each state agency’s Fiscal Year 2022 budget request. A complete calendar of these virtual public hearings can be found here

Notification of the hearings has been posted on the Delaware Public Meeting Calendar. Information about how to view each hearing will be posted to the calendar notice a few days in advance of each hearing. In addition, copies of agency budget narratives can be found here. After each hearing, a copy of the agency’s presentation and a recording of the hearing will also be placed at that site.

The public will be invited to comment at each public hearing during a designated time that will occur after the agency’s presentation. An individual will be allotted three minutes to speak, if on behalf of an organization, or two minutes to speak, if unrelated to an organization. Comment can be presented either orally during the designated time or in written format.

Anyone interested in providing public comment must register prior to the hearing via email at OMB.BudgetHearing@delaware.gov. The following information is required to register for public comment:
o Name
o Organization (if speaking on behalf of)
o Comments in writing (optional)

 

 


Governor Carney Issues Statement on General Assembly Passage of Fiscal Year 2021 Budget

WILMINGTON, Del. – Governor John Carney on Wednesday issued the following statement on the General Assembly’s passage of the Fiscal Year 2021 operating budget:

“This has been a difficult several months for Delaware, to be sure. I want to start by thanking members of the General Assembly – and especially members of the Joint Finance Committee – for their work under challenging circumstances to pass a responsible, balanced budget. My priorities for the budget have been consistent. Despite significant revenue challenges related to the COVID-19 crisis, we intended to protect critical investments in public education, and to protect the jobs and livelihoods of Delaware’s state workers. This budget will do just that.

We are not laying off state employees, or cutting their benefits. State workers have been on the front lines of this crisis, and we owe them our gratitude. We will also continue investments to support students and educators statewide through our Opportunity Funding program. This program supports students living in poverty, and students who are still learning English. I can’t think of a more important investment in Delaware’s future.

We were only able to continue these important investments because we acted responsibly in good times, and set aside surplus revenue into savings. We should continue to act responsibly. Let’s get the other budget bills done. The grants-in-aid bill provides critical funding for fire companies, senior service organizations, and other critical service providers that Delaware families rely on every day. They deserve our support, especially during this uncertain time. The capital budget makes investments in infrastructure statewide – in school construction, road and bridge improvements, and farmland preservation. Those investments will strengthen our economy and our communities. Let’s move forward.”

###


Governor Carney Presents Fiscal Year 2021 Recommended Budget

Plan includes important investments in education, economy, and environment, while building new reserves

DOVER, Del. – Governor John Carney on Thursday presented his Fiscal Year 2021 Recommended Budget, sending the General Assembly a financial plan that will make important investments to strengthen our economy, improve public schools for all Delaware children, and protect our environment – while setting aside additional reserves.

“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,” said Governor Carney. “This plan makes significant new investments to clean up Delaware’s drinking water and waterways. 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. And 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. This is a balanced, responsible plan that I look forward to discussing with members of the General Assembly.”

Download the budget presentation and follow along.

Key proposals in Governor Carney’s financial plan:

Historic Priority Investments

Clean Water: $50 million to establish a Clean Water Trust account to clean up Delaware’s drinking water and waterways. Includes increased funding for low-income and underserved communities. The recommendation includes the following:

  • $22.5 million for the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund
  • $22.5 million for the Clean Water State Revolving Fund
  • $5 million for Resource, Conservation and Development

Wilmington Schools Initiative: $50 million to support children in the City of Wilmington who need help the most. This funding will build upon previous year’s appropriations and will be directed toward the following:

  • Building a new state-of-the-art school on the East Side of Wilmington
  • Extensive renovations at Stubbs Elementary and Bayard Middle Schools
  • Establishing a dual-generation center at Stubbs Elementary school to serve students and families
  • Establishing a workforce training center for the Gulftainer/ILA partnership at Palmer Elementary

Strong and Growing Economy: $50 million to ensure Delaware remains competitive through modernizing infrastructure, focusing on small businesses and fostering a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship. Recommended funding includes:

  • $20 million for the Delaware Strategic Fund to further economic development and small business EDGE Grants
  • $10 million to expand Graduation Laboratory Space to drive bio-tech innovation and entrepreneurship
  • $10 million for Site Readiness so businesses have options to locate and expand in Delaware
  • $10 million for the Transportation Infrastructure Investment Fund to improve public infrastructure to support job-creating economic development projects
  • Capital Transportation Plan: $4.5 billion through 2026 to modernize Delaware’s transportation system

Improving Our Schools for All Delaware Children

Opportunity Funding: Second year of a three-year commitment dedicating $75 million for English learners and low-income students, and mental health supports

Increasing Access to Pre-K:

  • $2 million to provide 155 new quality child care seats
  • $3 million for Early Childhood Assistance Program capacity building
  • Goal: increase access by 50% in three years

Investing in Educators: $29 million – 2% pay increase and steps for public school educators

Investing in Schools:

  • $183.7 million – School construction and renovations in districts across the state
  • $36.5 million – Current year growth and projected school year 2020–2021 enrollment growth
  • $4.6 million – School Technology infrastructure

Partnering with Higher Education:

$20 million – 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 in the State

Protecting Our Quality of Life

Open Space and Farmland Preservation: $20 million to continue investments to preserve open space and farmland across Delaware
Affordable Housing and Strong Neighborhoods: $14 million toto clean up and restore abandoned properties, attack blight, and provide options for all Delawareans to live safely in communities
Downtown Development Districts: $5.6 million to continue to encourage private investment in our towns and cities
Public Safety Communications: $8.3 million to enhance communication systems
Security in DOC Facilities: $4 million for security cameras
Municipal Street Aid: $4 million to improve local roads

Long-Term Financial Sustainability

Based on Executive Order 21, the amount available for the operating budget is calculated based on an index relative to the overall economy to help reduce budget volatility. Any revenue above the index will be directed to one-time investments and savings. Governor Carney has recommended setting aside $161.5 million over and above constitutional limits 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.

Investing in our Workforce

Investing in State Employees: 2% pay increase for State employees
Continued support of Paid Parental Leave: Over 200 employees have taken advantage of the benefit to spend time with their newborn babies and young adopted children

Investing in our Workplaces:

  • $17.5 million for Kent & Sussex Family Court facilities
  • $7.5 million for deferred maintenance for state buildings
  • $2.8 million for Carvel State Office Building improvements and renovations

###


Bond Rating Agencies Recognize Delaware’s Strong Fiscal Management

Bond refunding saves taxpayers $15 million

WILMINGTON, Del. – Delaware’s proactive fiscal management has been recognized with the announcement of the State’s triple-A bond ratings and an upgrade of the rating for Delaware Transportation Authority (DTA) bonds. The State’s ratings were issued in advance of the refunding of $123 million of Series 2009D Build America Bonds that will save Delaware taxpayers more than $15 million over the next decade. DTA’s ratings were issued as the Authority priced $138 million of new Series 2019 Transportation System Senior Revenue Bonds. Bond ratings reflect an issuer’s financial management policies and practices, ability to make future debt service payments, and economic strength, stability and diversity. Both the State and DTA’s bond issues were priced at interest rates that will result in historically low costs for Delaware taxpayers. 

“Delawareans expect us to responsibly manage taxpayer dollars, and that’s exactly what we’re doing,” said Governor John Carney. “We have an ongoing commitment to ensuring that our fiscal house is in order. These important bond issues and our excellent bond ratings will save us money, and help finance important infrastructure projects like schools and roadway projects all across our state.”

The State’s August refunding refinanced $123 million of outstanding debt through a competitive bid process resulting in a 1.12% all-in borrowing cost — the lowest in modern state history for debt of a similar maturity. The State general fund will realize savings of $1.12 million in the current fiscal year alone. The original bonds financed numerous capital projects including schools, libraries, and other state infrastructure projects.  

“The State’s very successful refinancing reflects a team effort by the Carney Administration, the General Assembly, and our financial and legal advisors,” said Secretary of Finance Rick Geisenberger. “Delaware’s premier bond rating reflects many years of prudent fiscal management and recent efforts to limit operating budget growth, boost reserves during good times, and steer one-time revenues to one-time projects. Our goal continues to be preserving the State’s financial flexibility while ensuring that public borrowing is done responsibly and affordably.”

DTA priced its $138 million of new bonds at a competitive all-in rate of 2.11%. This rate followed the announcement that DTA’s bond rating was upgraded by Moody’s Investor Services from Aa2 to Aa1 while Standard & Poor’s reaffirmed its AA+ rating. Moody’s also upgraded the Authority’s outstanding US 301 Project Revenue Bonds Series 2015 from A1 to Aa3 and its Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) Series 2015 Bonds from A2 to Aa3. The Delaware Department of Transportation’s steady reduction in its overall debt combined with continued positive trends in toll, DMV and motor fuel revenues helps lower the cost of capital and frees up funding to further maintain and improve transportation infrastructure throughout Delaware.    

“We are very pleased with the rating services’ upgrade, and having a strong rating enables the Department to get the most out of every taxpayer dollar,” said Secretary of Transportation Jennifer Cohan. “DelDOT is excited to continue delivering on Delaware’s largest Capital Transportation Program in its history.”

###