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Delaware ends legislative session with budget surplus

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July 12, 2011

By David Godow

DOVER, Delaware:

Sidestepping the fiscal quagmire that has engulfed dozens of other states, Delaware legislators closed their 2011 session on July 1 with a $320 million surplus headed for state coffers. While other states mull painful spending cuts, Delaware upped its operating budget by $200 million compared with last year; it even pays down $37 million in debt. SThe happy outcome wasn't a result of the fiscal prudence of state government; $340 million in additional revenue simply materialized this spring due to higher than expected tax accruals and "administration enhancements."[1]

Governor Jack Markell praised lawmakers for the $29.6 million in utility, gross receipts, banking and personal income tax cuts they included in the bill. Still, not everyone was so satisfied; Sen. Colin Bonini (R-Dover South) criticized the increase in total spending over last year, noting that "Delaware families didn't get a 6.15 percent increase in their family budgets... This is unsustainable."[2]

Other highlights or this year's session included the passage of SB 30, which legalized civil unions for same-sex couples and SB 17, which legalized medicinal use of marijuana.

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