Delaware Governor unveils proposed budget for FY 2012
DOVER, Delaware: Last Thursday Delaware Governor Jack Markell (D) released his proposed budget for fiscal year 2012. The $3.4 billion operating budget contains no new taxes but uses a variety of ways to cut spending by $100.6 million in order to close the current $216.4 million shortfall facing the state. Despite all of the cuts, it is a 3.85% increase over the current years budget.
Markell pointed out the cuts, while not easy, are necessary, stating, "There are new demands we need to meet, and that means new and corresponding cuts that we need to make...We realize that there are some unpopular proposals here." Proposed cuts include $20 million for farmland preservation and open space, $6.5 million in higher education funding, and $4.5 million in "general assistance" checks for low-income residents. The proposed budget also includes the elimination of 55 casual and seasonal jobs in the Department of Health and Social Services would be eliminated - the first layoffs Markell has approved since he took office in 2009.
Spending in the budget includes $6.7 million for 100 new teachers, $93 million in school construction projects, and $10.5 million in university and college projects. The proposed budget went to the Joint Finance Committee of the General Assembly on January 31. The committee, which will begin holding six weeks of public hearings, must send Markell a balanced budget by June 30.
All of the proposed budget documents are available on the Delaware Office of Management and Budget website.