Governor reveals fiscal year 2019 budget plans.
Delaware residents concerned about a tax hike can rest easy, for now, as Gov. John Carney said he doesn’t have plans for one in Fiscal Year 2019.
“We’re still in much better shape than we were last year and we’re not here asking taxpayers for an increase,” the governor said during his Jan. 24 pre-budget meeting with the press in the Haslet Armory in Dover.
The governor’s general fund operating budget for FY2019 is $4.25 billion, 3.49 percent more than the previous year.
The governor's office has placed a video of the Thursday budget introduction online.
In the operating budget, the majority (34.6 percent) is dedicated to public education. This includes the governor’s plan to invest $20.9 million to fully fund new enrollment for 2018-2019. Most of that funding will go toward growth in special education.
Additionally, $10.2 million would be used to fully fund teacher pay raises. There will be $3.8 million for Delaware Stars to serve more children.
Carney proposes to direct funding to high-need schools, with $6 million going to opportunity grants, targeting investments into schools with a 60 percent poverty level, or 20 percent English language-learners students.
The second largest proposed expense in the operating budget is for health and social services, accounting for 28.1 percent. Funding in this area includes $1.4 million to help attack the state’s drug epidemic with more resources for substance use treatment.
The budget includes $2 million in prescription assistance for seniors.
The third top operating expense category is the Department of Correction, at 7.7 percent of the total. The $13.7 million requested will include spending to hire additional staff and invest in correctional officer salaries.
An additional $1.75 million will be used to buy ballistic vests, cameras and security equipment.
Bond payments and capital improvements are projected to cost $677.5 million, with $135.6 million toward school construction, according to the proposal.
In Wilmington, $15 million will be used to modernize two schools in the Christina School District, to significantly enhance the learning environment and overall educational experience in those facilities.
Carney proposes $41.7 million in grants-in-aid to nonprofits, up from last year’s $37.2 million.
The General Assembly must pass the budget and bond bills, and the governor must sign the bills by June 30. The new fiscal year begins July 1.