The Delaware State Senate passed the Fiscal Year 2022 budget Thursday afternoon, sending both bills to the governor for signature. The sole no vote on House Bill 250, the $4.77 billion fiscal spending bill, was Republican Senator Colin Bonini. House Bill 251, the $221 million supplemental measure containing one-time expenditures passed 21-0.
HB 250 and HB 251 now head to Governor John Carney for signature. The deadline to enact a balanced budget, as required by the state constitution, is June 30.
Notable items in the budget bills include:
- $17.2 million to increase reimbursement rates for Direct Support Professionals serving adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities, fulfilling the promise of phased-in progress toward funding benchmarks established in the McNesby Act
- $2.6 million to increase rates for home-based nursing care
- $16 million for student mental health services, including $8 million to fully fund the placement of a mental health professional in every Delaware elementary school.
- $22 million in additional education Opportunity Funds to address the needs of low income and English learner students.
- $10.2 million for the Redding Consortium to advance educational equity for students in the City of Wilmington and northern New Castle County.
- $4.3 million toward expansion of SEED and Inspire scholarships for Delaware students.
- $5.2 million to implement a statewide body-worn camera program for police officers
- $1 million to fund a primary care physician loan repayment program.
- $1 million implement a property tax credit for disabled veterans.
- A stable and supportive pay and benefits package for state workers and retirees, which includes:
- A $500 pay increase for all state workers, as well as a one-time bonus of $1,000 to be distributed in November.
- A 1% pay increase for educators, in addition to salary steps.
- $20 million in contingency funds to cover projected state employee health insurance costs and ensure employees incur no rate increases this fiscal year.
- Raises of 1-3% for state pensioners, based on years of retirement, as well as a one-time bonus of $500 to be distributed in November.
|House Bill 250 Sponsors||Yes Votes||No Votes|
|Carson, Bentz, Bolden, K.Williams, Briggs King, Hensley||House Passed 38-1-2. Baumbach Bennett Bentz Bolden Brady Bush Carson Chukwuocha Cooke Dorsey-Walker Griffith Heffernan K.Johnson K.Williams Lambert Longhurst Lynn Matthews Minor-Brown Mitchell Morrison Osienski S.Moore Schwartzkopf Wilson-Anton Briggs King D.Short Dukes Gray Hensley M.Smith Morris Postles Shupe Smyk Spiegelman Vanderwende Yearick||Collins, Kowalko (not voting), Ramone (not voting)|
|Paradee, Ennis, Lockman, Sturgeon, Lawson, Lopez||Senate Passed 20-1. Brown Ennis Gay Hansen Lockman Mantzavinos Paradee Pinkney Poore S.McBride Sokola Sturgeon Townsend Walsh Hocker Lawson Lopez Pettyjohn Richardson Wilson||Bonini|
|Current Status —||Sent to the Governor.|
Following better-than-expected revenues for the year, HB 250 contains over $200 million in new spending – a 4.94% increase – over the FY 2021 budget, fulfilling a key goal of the Joint Finance Committee to keep new, recurring spending below a 5 percent increase.
“We were fortunate this year that, even in the wake of a global pandemic, we had the resources and the will to make the kind of investments that will strengthen our state’s economy, support our workers and retirees, and broaden educational opportunities for our children up and down the state,” said Rep. Bill Carson, co-chair of the Joint Finance Committee. “I want to thank co-chair Senator Paradee, my fellow members of the Joint Finance Committee, Controller General Ruth Ann Jones and her dedicated staff, as well as all of my colleagues in the House and Senate for their support.”
|House Bill 251 Sponsors||Yes Votes||No Votes|
|Carson, Bentz, Bolden, K.Williams, Briggs King, Hensley||House Passed 38-1-2. Baumbach Bennett Bentz Bolden Brady Bush Carson Chukwuocha Cooke Dorsey-Walker Griffith Heffernan K.Johnson K.Williams Kowalko Lambert Longhurst Lynn Matthews Minor-Brown Mitchell Morrison Osienski S.Moore Schwartzkopf Wilson-Anton Briggs King Collins D.Short Dukes Gray Hensley M.Smith Morris Postles Ramone Shupe Smyk Spiegelman Vanderwende Yearick||None|
|Paradee, Ennis, Lockman, Sturgeon, Lawson, Lopez||Senate Passes 21-0. Brown Ennis Gay Hansen Lockman Mantzavinos Paradee Pinkney Poore S.McBride Sokola Sturgeon Townsend Walsh Bonini Hocker Lawson Lopez Pettyjohn Richardson Wilson||None|
|Current Status —||Sent to the Governor|
“This year’s budget process highlights so much of what makes Delaware a great state and why our way of governing consistently earns us a AAA bond rating,” said Sen. Trey Paradee, co-chair of the budget-writing Joint Finance Committee. “Even with the turbulence of the past year, we managed to carefully track revenue forecasts and fund much-needed programs and projects, all while keeping budget growth below 5%. Additionally, we added over $220 million to budget stabilization and the rainy day fund, bringing those totals to $538 million saved for future economic downturns. None of this would be possible without the diligence of our committee members and Controller General staff. I thank them for their hard work and all of my Senate colleagues for passing these bills today.”
“Maintaining a strong, solvent, and equitable state starts here. I am proud of the work we have done, and I look forward to signing these bills with the governor soon.”
“This year’s budget is something I think we can all be proud of,” said Senate President Pro Tempore David Sokola. “Beyond simply laying out the spending line items for the year, this document sets us on a path toward closing longstanding gaps in funding for special education, healthcare services, first responders and more. As we all recover from the past year of pandemic response, this spending plan – I believe – is a cause for optimism and renewed commitment to building a better state for all Delawareans.”
“As I always say, passing a balanced annual budget is our only constitutional obligation as a General Assembly, and I think we can all be proud of the work done this year to fulfill that duty,” said Speaker of the House Pete Schwartzkopf. “This budget will help Delaware emerge from the pandemic with renewed investments in quality schools for children from all walks of life, public safety in our communities, and health care services for our most vulnerable neighbors.”