Governor Carney Signs $4.4 Billion Fiscal Year 2020 Budget

Budget invests in education, limits budget growth, and bolsters reserves

DOVER, Del. – Governor John Carney on Tuesday signed a $4.4 billion Fiscal Year 2020 budget plan that limits operating budget growth to 4.2 percent, invests in education, and gives state employees a raise, while setting aside more than $100 million in projected reserves.

The budget signed by Governor Carney will fund a $100 million, three-year plan to invest in Delaware’s most vulnerable students, and highest-needs schools. Governor Carney’s Opportunity Funding initiative will provide additional, targeted resources for low-income students and English learners, while setting aside additional funding for mental health and literacy supports.

Read full details on Fiscal Year 2020 investments below.

“This is a responsible budget that focuses on Delaware’s future, with important investments in education, in our state employees, and in health care,” said Governor Carney. “We are making historic investments in the students who need our help the most, funding well-deserved raises for our state employees and educators, and fully funding important services for Delawareans and Delaware families who rely on them every day. Importantly, we also set aside additional reserves, to protect Delaware taxpayers from future budget cuts. I want to thank members of the General Assembly, and specifically the members of the Joint Finance Committee, for their work on this budget plan, and their continued partnership on behalf of the people of Delaware.”

Governor Carney introduced his recommended budget in January, and members of the General Assembly approved the budget this week. Members of the Delaware Senate voted to approve the Fiscal Year 2020 plan on Tuesday afternoon. The Delaware House of Representatives approved the budget on June 20.

“We work hard to make sure that the First State’s budget matches the values that define our state and the mission our constituents send us here to accomplish,” said Senate President Pro Tempore David McBride. “Ten years out from the worst of the Great Recession, I’m proud to report that the General Assembly continues to maintain a ledger that spends wisely, collects more revenue in an equitable way, saves for the future, and prepares Delaware for a bright future of fiscal health.”

“This budget is the result of months of hard work from the members of the Joint Finance Committee, staff and the countless advocates who come to Legislative Hall to make their case for many worthwhile programs,” said Representative Quinn Johnson, who chairs the budget-writing Joint Finance Committee. “Delaware’s operating budget touches nearly every resident across the state, and we are proud to have put together a spending plan that maintains our core state services and even increases funding to many of these programs. We’ve added funding for providers that care for our state’s most vulnerable populations and have pledged to continue work on improving funding in more consistent and sustainable levels. We have an obligation to try to help our residents whenever possible, and I think we have done that while being fiscally responsible.”

 

Fiscal Year 2020 Budget Highlights:

  • General Fund Operating budget totals $4.4 billion, limiting growth to 4.2%
  • Sets aside over $100 million in reserves (after projected cash to bond bill and grant in aid)
  • Appropriates $62 million toward one-time items in a separate supplemental appropriation bill
  • Funds “door openers” such as:
    • $19.5 million for K-12 enrollment growth
    • $14.6 million for salary steps (Education, DSP, DTCC, agency)
    • $9.4 million for pupil transportation
    • $9.8 million for Medicaid growth
    • $2.2 million for debt service
    • $1.3 million for elections machine maintenance
    • $1.1 million for inmate medical/pharmacy inflation 

 

IMPROVING OUR SCHOOLS

Investing $100 million in High-Needs Schools

  • Opportunity Funding: $75 million over three years for:
    • $20 million/year in weighted funding for low-income students and English learners (EL) across all grade levels
    • $5.0 million/year to provide mental health and reading supports for grades K-5
    • $500,000 to evaluate the results of this program and identify best practices
  • Providing Resources for Early Grades – Student Success Block Grant: $26 million over a three year period for the following:
    • $4.5 million/year in support for K-3 Basic Special Education
    • $4.0 million/year to provide an estimated 45 reading teachers targeted to elementary schools with high percentages of students in poverty
    • $350,000/year to establish Wellness Centers in elementary schools

Investing in the Classroom

  • $1 million for yearlong residencies to prepare incoming teachers and improve retention in high-needs schools
  • $850,000 for the DE Literacy Plan providing professional development and micro-credential bonus
  • $560,000 to provide 4 additional middle school math coaches bringing the total funding for this program to $1.6 million

Investing in Educators

  • Funding for annual salary steps for educators, plus a 2% general salary increase
  • $500,000 to expand High Needs Educator Student Loan Forgiveness Program, bringing the total funding for this program to $700,000
  • $347,600 to restore National Board certification premium

Investing in Early Education

  • $3.8 million to continue support for Delaware’s early learning centers
  • $6.7 million to maintain access to quality early learning through Delaware STARS

Investing in the City of Wilmington

  • Continued support of $1.5 million for the Christina School District schools located in the City of Wilmington

Continued Support for Higher Education Institutions

  • $2.2 million for SEED and Inspire program growth and for the expansion of SEED to post-associate’s degree
  • $1.5 million for the Higher Education Land Grant/Workforce Development Matching Fund to match federal land grant appropriations or support academic programs that address critical workforce needs in the State
  • $1.7 million for the University of Delaware to support in-state students and the Cooperative Extension program
  • $538,800 to expand grant opportunities for women athletes and support for the nursing program at Delaware State University
  • $1.1 million for the Delaware Technical Community College RN to BSN program, diesel mechanic program, pathways partnerships, enrollment and financial aid support and phase in of a retention and compensation plan

 

A STRONG AND STABLE STATE WORKFORCE

Investing in State Workers and Educators

  • $1,000 annual raise for state workers
  • Successfully completed negotiations with several collective bargaining units
  • 2% raise for educators and bus drivers statewide, on top of annual step increases

Recruiting and Retaining Quality Employees

  • $150,000 for the First State Quality Improvement Fund
  • $85,000 for recruitment and retention efforts

High Needs Area – Public Safety

  • $1.5 million in additional funding for the second year implementation of the Department of Correction Independent Review recommendations
  • $508,600 and 18.0 FTEs for pending legislation expanding the availability of expungement for selected categories of adult arrests and convictions (SS1 to SB 37)

High Needs Area – Children’s Services

  • $3.3 million to add 34 casework staff and contractual support in the Division of Family Services
  • $5.0 million in a contingency to address department-wide caseload growth

 

A Healthier Delaware

Supporting Those who Serve Delawareans with Disabilities

  • $4.2 million for contractual increases for partners providing services to those with disabilities
  • $3.6 million for attendant care services waiting list

Continued Health Coverage for Children

  • $3.2 million for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) due to decreased federal funding

Addressing Prevention, Treatment, Resilience and Recovery of Mental Health, including substance use and co-occurring disorders

  • $2.9 million for a Behavioral Health Consortium Contingency

Providing Basic Services to the Medicaid Population

  • $1.3 million for Medicaid Dental services

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Governor Carney’s Statement on Delaware Economic and Financial Advisory Council (DEFAC) Estimates

WILMINGTON, Del. Governor John Carney on Monday released the following statement on the latest estimates from the Delaware Economic and Financial Advisory Council (DEFAC):

“We continue to show strong revenue growth, which is a positive sign for Delaware’s economy and our state budget. But, as we’ve said all along, much of this revenue is coming from one-time sources and volatile revenue streams like the corporate income tax. Delawareans expect us to responsibly manage their money in good and bad times. We should not use one-time revenue to fund ongoing expenses. That’s why we will continue to talk to legislators about dedicating one-time revenue to one-time expenses like infrastructure projects and open space preservation – while putting money away to prevent spending cuts the next time our revenue picture trends downward.”

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Learn more about Governor Carney’s Fiscal Year 2020 budget proposal.


Governor Carney Presents Fiscal Year 2020 Recommended Budget

Plan advances priorities outlined in State of the State including public education

DOVER, Del. – Governor Carney on Thursday presented his Fiscal Year 2020 Recommended Budget, sending the General Assembly a plan that will make important investments in Delaware’s economy, public schools, and quality of life.

“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 investments in our schools to help low-income children and English learners succeed and make progress in closing our opportunity gap. We’ll also continue to make important one-time investments in environmental protection, and our infrastructure. And we are proposing to set aside $92 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.”

“The Governor has presented a recommended financial plan that targets resources toward issues that are important for all Delawareans, including our schools, our economy, and our environment – while setting aside substantial reserves should our revenues weaken in future fiscal years,” said Mike Jackson, Director of the Office of Management and Budget. “I look forward to working with the Joint Finance Committee, the Bond Bill Committee, and the entire General Assembly over the next few months to craft final appropriations legislation for Fiscal Year 2020.”

 

Key proposals in Governor Carney’s financial plan:

Strengthening Delaware’s Economy

  •  Strategic Fund: $12.5 million for job creation incentives administered by the Division of Small Business
  • Research Collaborations: $8.6 million to support research collaborations at the University of Delaware and Delaware State University that leverage significant federal investment
  • Delaware Prosperity Partnership: $2 million to support the Delaware Prosperity Partnership, which markets Delaware to businesses. Private contributors have raised more than $1 million to match public funding
  • Higher Education Economic Development Fund: $15 million to support investments and economic development initiatives at higher education institutions
  • Transportation Infrastructure Investment Fund: $10 million to improve public infrastructure to support job-creating economic development projects
  • Capital Transportation Plan: $3.2 billion through 2025 to modernize Delaware’s transportation system

Improving Our Schools for all Delaware Children

  • Opportunity Funding: $60 million over three years will be devoted to weighted funding for low-income students and English learners
  •  Investing in Educators:
    •  $20 million – 2% pay increase for public school educators and $1,000 flat increase for non-educators
    • $500,000 – Expand the High Needs Educator Student Loan Payment Program
  • Investing in the Classroom:
    • $1 million – Yearlong residencies to prepare incoming teachers and improve retention in high-needs schools
    • $850,000 – DE Literacy Plan – statewide professional development and instructional supports
    • $560,000 – Additional middle school math coaches
  • Partnering with Higher Education:
    • $15 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
  • Clean Water: $10 million in state funding to help upgrade clean water and drinking water infrastructure
  • Beach Preservation: $5 million in state investments to leverage additional federal funding
  • Addressing the Drug Use Epidemic: $1.8 million for continued support of the recommendations of the Behavioral Health Consortium
  • Ensuring Continued Access to Care for Our Children: $3.2 million in additional funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) to offset the cut in federal share
  • Assisting Seniors with Maintaining their Health: $1.8 million for Aging services volume growth
  • Supporting our Non-Profit Service Providers: $2 million for an increase for those vendors serving adults with disabilities and $3.8 million for a Purchase of Care provider increase

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 $92.1 million over and above constitutional limits on appropriations, and limiting operating budget growth to 3.8 percent, the appropriation benchmark calculated by the Delaware Economic and Financial Advisory Council.

Investing in Our Workforce

  • Investing in State Employees: $1,000 pay increase for State and district/charter non-educator employees
  • Recruiting and Retaining Quality Employees: $150,000 for the First Quality Fund and $85,000 for recruitment and retention efforts
  • Investing in our Workplaces:
    • $2.8 million for Carvel State Office Building improvements and renovations
    • $5 million for the deferred maintenance backlog in state facilities
    • $1.5 million for renovations to the Jesse Cooper Building
    • $850,000 for elevator replacement at the Leonard L. Williams Justice Center
  • Investments in High-Needs Areas:
    • Department of Services for Children, Youth & Their Families: $2.9 million to add 34 new caseworkers in the Division of Family Services to bolster child welfare investigations
    • Department of Labor: $798,400 to add 9 new staff members in the Labor Law Enforcement section and in the Anti-Discrimination section

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Governor Carney Signs Fiscal Year 2019 Budget and Supplemental Appropriation

Cements $4.2 billion state budget with $49 million supplemental appropriation for one-time bonuses

 

DOVER, Del. – On Thursday, Governor John Carney signed Senate Bill 235 – the Fiscal Year 2019 Appropriation Act. This budget, which received final passage by the General Assembly this week, provides a balanced $4.2 billion financial plan that makes investments in Delaware’s economy, workforce and public schools.

The supplemental budget, Senate Bill 236, passed today in the Delaware House, appropriates funds to provide a $500 one-time salary supplement to full-time and part-time employees, as well as supplements to pensioners and one-time funded priority projects.

“When we presented our budget proposal in January, we were focused on making responsible decisions, using one-time revenue for one-time investments, and helping keep our state competitive. The budget I signed today accomplishes those goals,” said Governor Carney. “This is a responsible budget that will invest in our highest-needs schools, and help us recruit and retain teachers where they’re needed most. We are making new investments to confront the opioid crisis, and giving state employees a well-deserved raise. I want to thank members of the Joint Finance Committee and the entire General Assembly for their efficient work on this budget, and for making responsible decisions that will help us continue to address our long-term, structural challenges.”

“This year’s budget process was unlike any other in my 42 years in government and should serve as an example for subsequent General Assemblies,” said Harris McDowell, co-chair of the Joint Finance Committee. “The surplus has been headline news since late last year – and rightly so – but this year was also defined by a spirit of cooperation and an attention to detail that should make all Delawareans proud. Thanks to the diligent work of the Joint Finance Committee, we completed this budget in record time and passed a final version that faithfully mirrors the priorities and values of this state. It is responsible, sensible, and fair and I want to once again thank my colleagues on the Joint Finance Committee, co-chair Melanie George Smith, and all of our elected officials that worked so hard to get us across the finish line today.”

“My colleagues on the Joint Finance Committee worked hard in a bipartisan fashion to ensure that we used the taxpayers’ dollars in a fiscally responsible way,” said Representative Melanie George Smith, co-chair of the Joint Finance Committee. “We have been able to meet our core obligations and provide vital services that Delawareans rely on, while restoring funding we were forced to cut in more difficult years and putting funds in reserve for future years. This spending plan is a testament to responsible budgeting.”

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Highlights of the Fiscal Year 2019 Budget:

 

RESPONSIBLE INVESTMENT

  • Limits operating budget growth to 3.99%
  • Sets aside over $46 million by only appropriating 97% of available revenue
  • Funds long-term liabilities such as pensions and debt service
  • Funds “door openers” such as:
    • $20.9 million for school enrollment growth
    • $8.8 million for quality child care for more children
    • $3.0 million to ensure fair elections
  • Generates over $5 million in savings in areas such as energy, fleet services and restructuring of the Department of Education

BETTER SCHOOLS FOR ALL DELAWARE CHILDREN

Investing in Educators 

  •  $10.2 million for annual salary step, plus a 2% general salary increase for educators statewide

Investing in Early Education

  •  $3.8 million to fund growth in Delaware’s early learning centers through the STARS program

Investing in High-Needs Schools

  • $6.0 million to expand the Opportunity Grants program, with targeted investments into schools with high percentages of students at the poverty level and/or English Language Learners (ELL) students

Investing in the City of Wilmington

  • $1.5 million for the Christina School District schools located in the City of Wilmington

INVESTING IN OUR WORKFORCE

Investing in State Workers and Educators:

  • $1,000 annual raise for state workers
  • 2% raise for teachers statewide, on top of annual step increases
  • $500 one-time bonus for all state employees
  • $400 one-time supplement for all retirees

High Needs Area Public Safety:

  • Funding for second year of correctional officer raises to $43,000 starting salary
  • $3.6 million for implementation of correctional officer career ladder
  • $2.3 million to fund implementation of the Department of Correction Independent Review recommendations
  • Establishment of a dedicated Special Operations Response Team (SORT) unit in the Department of Safety and Homeland Security.

High Needs Area – Children’s Services:

  • $4.2 million to add 30 new casework staff and contractual support in the Division of Family Services to bolster child welfare, abuse and neglect hotline investigations
  • $2.0 million to add 29 new staff members in the Division of Youth Rehabilitative services to meet staffing needs in six secure facilities, and reduce mandatory overtime

A HEALTHIER DELAWARE

Investments toward improving Delawareans’ health:

  • $1.4 million to expand substance abuse treatment
  • $3 million to implement recommendations of the Behavioral Health Consortium Report
  • $4.6 million for contractual increases for provider partners providing services to those with disabilities
  • $285,000 to expand resources for substance-exposed infants
  • $2.0 million in prescription assistance for Delaware seniors and $850,000 to support Senior Nutrition Services

 


Governor Carney’s Statement on Joint Finance Committee Vote to Limit Spending

WILMINGTON, Del.Governor John Carney on Tuesday issued the following statement on the Joint Finance Committee’s vote to appropriate only 97 percent of available revenue this year and conserve surplus revenue:

“Delaware has a tradition of fiscal responsibility, and I want to thank members of the Joint Finance Committee for their vote today, which shows restraint, and a commitment to making responsible, long-term decisions about our finances. On our current pace and without action, our spending needs will outgrow our ability to pay for them. That’s why we’ve been focused since taking office on addressing our long-term challenges, on responsibly investing one-time revenue, and on making sure we don’t spend beyond our means. This will require a long-term commitment. Today’s vote is a major step toward that commitment and I look forward to working with the entire General Assembly through this session to ensure this additional surplus revenue is set aside. Thank you to members of the Joint Finance Committee for their partnership in this effort.”

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