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State employee raises, education and econ. development funding highlight Gov. Carney's budget plan

Delaware Public Media

Gov. John Carney unveiled his 2020 budget proposal today Thursday.

The just over $4.4 billion spending plan calls for state workers and public education employees to get a $1,000 raise. Public school educators get a 2 percent pay raise and step increases.

The budget also includes the previously announced $60 million in funding for disadvantaged students statewide.

Carney said the Delaware Department of Education will track how school districts spend the money, addressing some lawmakers’ concerns about it being misspent.

“It’s one of the real tension points," he said. "Whether or not to require money to be earmarked for this or that. We already do it, and we’re expanded some of those things in this budget with respect to reading specialists and Math specialists and some of the things that Mike [Jackson, state budget director] talked about. So that’s one of the things we’ll be looking at.”

Carney’s budget also proposes additional education funding for programs like teacher student loan forgiveness, the Delaware Literacy Plan and more Math coaches.

Carney is also committing $15 million to colleges and universities for initiatives tied to economic development, along with another $21 million in deferred maintenance. That $21 million will be split evenly, with University of Delaware, Delaware Tech and Delaware State University each receiving $7 million.

The governor is also calling for creating a $10-million Transportation Infrastructure Investment Fund and sending 12 and a half million to the state’s Strategic Fund.

Carney’s plan is a 3.8 percent increase over last year - an increase set through the process laid out by his budget smoothing executive order - an increase set through the process laid out by his budget smoothing executive order.

Carney is also asking to to put another $45 million dollars in reserve. Paired with the $47 million set aside in the 2019 budget, the state would now have about $92.1 million dollars on hand. through that budget smoothing process. But lawmakers could opt to appropriate that money.

Carney said he hears from everyday Delawareans that they like and understand his approach to saving money through his budget smoothing executive order.
“And so I think there’s just a fundamental logic in what we’re proposing," he said. "Maybe I’m naive, but I just happen to believe that the logic of your position is the strongest thing that you have in your favor.”

Carney’s plan also calls for reducing Grant-In-Aid funding to $48.4 million, slightly lower than the $52 million the Joint Finance Committee approved last year. And spending $678.6 million dollars in the capital budget.

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