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Politics & Government

House Democrats block constitutional amendment over state spending

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Delaware Public Media
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A Republican effort to corral future state budget growth was tabled in a House committee Wednesday.

 

 

The constitutional amendment would tie any extra budget spending to the average of the Consumer Price Index, which measures inflation, over the past three years. It would also factor in population growth at that time.

“It was a way to bring sanity or maybe another check and balance that our budget is going the same direction as our private sector," said sponsoring Rep. Ronald Gray (R-Selbyville).

Top House Democrats questioned Gray during the committee hearing, asking if other states managed their budgets in such ways.

House Speaker Pete Schwartzkopf (D-Rehoboth Beach) says many more factors affect the budget and that it shouldn’t be limited by these guideline, noting that “You can’t run government like a business.”

Still, Gray says the savings would be tangible if enacted. 

“It looks like our governor has been somewhat conservative in his approach, but we’d have $90 million more dollars if he had used this approach five years ago that would be in the private sector to have jobs and to support our private economy.”

The amendment was tabled, which Gray says may be brought back in committee after the upcoming Easter break.

It would need to pass by a two-thirds majority in two consecutive General Assemblies before becoming law.