The initial response to Gov. Carney’s 2019 budget proposal from GOP lawmakers is largely positive.
State Rep. Ruth Briggs-King (R-Georgetown) says she's encouraged by the proposal – saying it’s the first time since she joined the legislature she’s seen GOP concerns thoughtfully addressed in a governor’s plan.
“I particularly like strategically seeing one-time money not being built into the budget for expenditures year after year, but seeing go towards some facility improvements, towards roads and infrastructure," said Briggs-King.
Carney’s commitment to invest in state workers drew the most praise.
That investment includes a $1,000 raise for all state employees and a 2 percent raise for teachers
“I would love to give them more. That being said, this is a good first step forward as we begun this process. No one works harder than our state employees," said State Senator Ernie Lopez (R-Lewes). "And it’s also capital improvement projects on state facilities and state buildings, the investments in our corrections officers and our teachers. I think this budget really reflected our need to be focused on our state employees who are doing tremendous work on behalf of all of us."
Briggs-King also pointed to Carney's plan to send Opportunity Grant money to schools outside Wilmington that have larger populations of low income students or English Language Learners
“I represent a district that has the highest English Language Learner population of probably any in the state. So it is a very major concern for us to get that equity in funding, because we haven’t had that. And the local districts, especially [in my district], have had to absorb those costs at the expense of other programs they’ve had to let go," said Briggs-King.
Lopez was glad to see Carney would seek to restore funding for OPen Space and Farmland Preservation completely cut during last year's budget crisis.
Both Lopez and Briggs-King were pleased to see a portion of last year’s cuts to Grants-in-Aid restored.
Neither balked at the fact Carney’s proposal increased the budget by 3.5 over the current year.