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GOP lawmakers question cost of Carney's State of the State proposals

Delaware Public Media

Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle found things to like in Gov. Carney’s State of the State address.

But that doesn’t mean Carney will get widespread support for them.

State Rep. Danny Short (R-Seaford), the House Minority Leader, says there’s not much disagreement on the goals Carney laid out, but how much they’ll cost is a different matter.

“I think there’s 12 of 15 things that have new price tags to then," said Short. "So the question becomes what is it you can afford to do."

State Senator Greg Lavelle (R-Sharpley), the Senate Minority Whip, agrees and says since he hasn’t been briefed on ideas like a new public-private partnership to expand the Port of Wilmington,  he’s curious to see how Carney’s budget plan makes it all add up when it is unveiled next week

“None of the ideas are bad, but when the governor leads off saying we can’t spend money we don’t have, we spend more than we take in, and then rolls out any number of spending initiatives, it’ll be a great budget address next Thursday, ” said Lavelle.

Listen to lawmaker interviews following Gov. Carney's State of the State address.

Short believes state worker pay raises and hiring new teachers have a better chance of getting support.  He’s not so sure about money for the plan Carney is trying to forge with Christina School District to help its Wilmington schools.

"I can appreciate that he wants to solve that in Wilmington.  We’re very willing to talk about that, willing to engage on that issue," said Short. " But we’re also hopeful we’ll take care of our districts in the southern part of the state as well.  Those kids struggle equally as much.

But State Rep. Helene Keeley  (D-Wilmington) says Carney is right to make getting something done with schools in the state’s largest city a priority.

This has been going on way too long. We get to the 10-yard line and all of a sudden the rules in the game change.   It is very frustrating to me, but I am hopeful," said Keeley.  "I’ve never seen this Governor more committed to making something happen than he is on this subject.

Carney will offer details of how much money he wants for his various initiatives, and his plans to rein in state spending in other areas –like healthcare – when he delivers his budget proposal next week.

Tom Byrne has been a fixture covering news in Delaware for three decades. He joined Delaware Public Media in 2010 as our first news director and has guided the news team ever since. When he's not covering the news, he can be found reading history or pursuing his love of all things athletic.