State revenue up slightly as lawmakers prepare to finish building 2021 budget
Delaware gets some more good news about its financial picture.
The Delaware Economic and Financial Advisory Council’s (DEFAC) June forecast adds to the state’s bottom line this fiscal year and in FY 2021.
That gives lawmakers about $88 million dollars more to work with than a month ago
The group upped its revenue forecast for 2020 by nearly $79 million compared to May and added just over $11 million to its May projection for 2021.
But that still leaves lawmakers about $403 million less to work with then when Gov. John Carney (D) offered his 2021 budget plan in January. That number was $491 million last month and $749 million in April.
The budget-writing Joint Finance Committee (JFC) used a variety of methods to make up that gap, including eliminating a proposed two-percent pay increase for state employees and putting step increases on hold for state educators and other employees with collectively bargained raises. It also calls for using about half of the state’s budget stabilization fund to produce a balanced budget.
JFC Co-chair State Rep. Quinn Johnson (D-Middletown) expects the additional dollars to prompt discussion about employee pay, as well as money for the capital budget and education.
There’s definitely going to be conversations, but the overall theme is to maintain discipline due to the extreme uncertainty still for 2021," said Johnson. "As a group, we’ll start talking about where the comfort level is to make sure that any changes we do make can be continued into the future. Meaning that, because of the uncertainty, any change we make we don’t want to just six months from now to take it back because things went considerably south."
Gov. Carney, in a statement, called the new revenue numbers “good news” and emphasized the need for the 2021 budget to prioritize protecting the state employee jobs and critical new investments in education and infrastructure.
DEFAC's June forecast added about $21.5 million in personal income revenue for this year and almost $19 million in 2021.
It also forecasts an increase of about $41 million in corporate and LLC/LP tax revenue for this year.
And it upped lottery revenue this year by $10 million, noting casinos are actually doing better now than last June, in part because neighboring states’ casinos remain closed to start the month.
Johnson says JFC hopes to have a final budget ready for review next week.
Lawmakers are required to pass a balanced budget by June 30th.