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Gov. Carney's budget plan receives fairly warm reception from Republican lawmakers

Delaware Public Media

Gov. Carney’s 2020 budget proposal is finding initial support from some GOP lawmakers.

Carney’s commitment to budget smoothing is among the things drawing praise from Republicans.

State Sen. Colin Bonini (R-Dover South) is one of that chamber’s loudest voices for fiscal restraint.  He calls a Democratic governor suggesting spending growth be capped at 3.8 percent and another 45 million dollar put into a reserve fund “great leadership”

“And I think if the General Assembly is smart enough to stick with the governor on this, I think we are absolutely going to be putting our state in a much better financial situation in the future," said Bonini.

Carney’s plan to restrain spending also found support from State Rep. Ruth Briggs-King (R-Georgetown), who sits on the budget writing Joint Finance Committee.

“It’s hard to disagree. I think the disagreement will come in how do we make it happen and make sure things are fair and equitable throughout the state, so that the funds are equally distributed based on need.  Those are the things that will be debatable," said Briggs-King. "But it’s hard to argue with much of what was said today.  And I like the fiscal responsibility we see built in."

Briggs-King is also pleased Carney’s plan to spend $60 million to assist disadvantaged students will send those funds throughout the state based on need.

“So there’s a bit of equity whether you’re in Georgetown Elementary or whether you’re in Seaford or Laurel Seaford, where they have challenges with poverty much the same as they do in Wilmington - there’s just not as much attention paid to it.  And I think there are probably the same type of pockets in Kent County," said Briggs-King.

Bonini supports $15 million in additional capital funding for the state’s 3 colleges and universities, but suggests a better long-term process to consistently fund those schools needs is necessary.

"They're providing incredible services to Delaware and they have aging infrastructure.  And how we do it now, where is a political decision every year how much they get and it can go from $15 million down to $5 million, we've got to find a solution to that," said Bonini, who adds he working on the issue.

Bonini says one solution he does not support is using a statewide property tax to fund capital projects as proposed by Delaware Tech.

And both Briggs-King and Bonini back Carney’s call to give state workers a $1000 pay raise, and teachers a 2 percent salary bump, along with step increases.

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.