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GOP lawmakers offer early support for much of Gov. Carney's budget

Delaware Public Media

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."

Delaware Public Media's Tom Byrne interviews State Sen. Ernie Lopez and State Rep. Ruth Briggs-King about Gov. Carney's 2019 budget plan.

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.

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.