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$4.1 billion operating budget clears state Senate

Delaware Public Media

Over the objections of some Republicans, state senators signed off on the state’s proposed $4.1 billion budget Tuesday.

The total is about $29 million less than what Gov. Jack Markell (D) floated in January and includes a 1.5 percent pay raise for most state employees.

Republicans say they appreciate the budget being published before June 30, but several still voted against it, citing a sluggish economy and what they see as unbridled spending by Democrats.


Sen. Colin Bonini (R-Dover South), who’s running for governor, says the amount of money Delaware spends on its residents is inexcusable, calling the results mediocre or worse.


“Our economy is failing. Period. Income growth for average Americans since 2008 has been a paltry 14 percent. In Delaware, it’s 0.7 [percent],” Bonini said.

Democrats retorted that several studies listed the state among the top in the country for economic development.

They also touted a heightened sense of oversight over rising costs in the Medicaid program and others, though Republicans dispute that.

Senate Minority Whip Greg Lavelle (R-Sharpley) says he hopes those efforts produce results.


“Hope springs eternal. Reality can sometime be challenging and I would only observe that in the current fiscal year there was supposed to be no Medicaid growth. Turns out there was $25 million, so we’ll see what happens next year," Lavelle said.

That budget now heads to the House for approval. Lawmakers must still pass the Grant-in-Aid bill, as well as a currently unfinished Bond Bill before they recess.