Last revenue estimate offers relief to lawmakers building 2016 budget
State lawmakers got some good news in the latest official state revenue projections Monday.
Legislators will have just over $33 million more to work with as they race to craft a 2016 spending plan before June 30th.
“It nice to see an increase finally in some of the numbers. You wonder how that juggling worked out, but it was nice to see," said Senate Minority Leader Gary Simpson (R-Milford)
The increased revenue covers about half of the $64.7 million dollar gap the budget writing Joint Finance Committee (JFC) faced before today’s numbers as it works to square the state’s bottom line with Gov. Jack Markell’s January budget proposal.
“I don’t think it takes all the pressure off. I think there’s a great chance for us to really talk about what it is we really want to accomplish from a legitimate standpoint," said House Minority Leader Danny Short (R-Seaford), "I mean, the numbers have improved significantly from where they were. They’re a lot higher than I expected them to be, which takes a lot of pressure off, but when the pressure’s off, you know, maybe that’s a good time to take a hard look at what we’re doing and really make some firm plans for the future."
JFC recessed last month after only trimming a fraction of what needed to be done to build a balanced budget, deciding to wait on this last revenue report from the Delaware Economic and Financial Advisory Council (DEFAC).
The additional money comes from a nearly $55 million jump in the revenue estimate for the current fiscal year. That more than offset a drop of almost $21 million in DEFAC’s 2016 revenue projection.
Increases both personal taxes estimates in both 2015 and 2016 account for most of the addition money available. The state also got a net boost in the corporate income tax over this year and next.
The state took a hit in abandoned property revenue – attributed the state doing a better job of finding owners of abandoned stock shares and other assets.
Lawmakers return to work Tuesday. Simpson says leadership will meet again Tuesday night to discuss how to move forward to fill the budget hole that remains.