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State's December revenue estimate rises by 66 million

Delaware Public Media

Gov. John Carney and state lawmakers appear to have additional money to spend in fiscal year 2020.

The Delaware Economic and Financial Advisory Council has approved a spending limit for lawmakers of $4.71 billion for FY 2020, a $66 million increase from its September forecast.

Finance Secretary Rick Geisenberger said the increase is driven by growth in things like personal income tax collections, gross tax receipts and real estate transfer tax.

Experts are predicting an economic slowdown, but Geisenberger said DEFAC is taking that into account in its FY 2020 forecast.

“I think that the consensus in DEFAC today was that it may not be as rapid growth as what we’ve been seeing the last you know 12 months, but there weren’t any indicators that a recession was imminent,” he said.

DEFAC also approved a budget benchmark of 3.8 percent, which designates $184 million as surplus revenue and sets aside $61.6 million as rainy day money.

Carney signed a budget smoothing executive order in July to establish a benchmark and hold back rainy day funds after members of his own party declined to support a constitutional amendment accomplishing similar goals.

Office of Management and Budget Director Mike Jackson said the DEFAC process set a level of transparency.

“We’ll continue to work with the members of the legislature to produce a financial plan that allows us to make consistent investments,” he said.

Carney’s executive order does not constrict lawmakers’ spending authority.

DEFAC also set a healthcare benchmark of 3.8 percent for 2019.

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