Gov. Carney signs 2022 Operating and Bond Bill budgets
Three of the four budget bills were signed by Gov. John Carney Wednesday, the last day of the legislative session.
Lawmakers convened in Carney’s office in Legislative hall to celebrate the passage of the 2022 operating budget, and the largest bond bill in state history.
The $4.77 billion operating budget, passed along with a $221 million supplemental spending bill, is about 4.9% bigger than this year’s spending plan. The budget is also about $65 million more than Carney proposed in January, thanks to a spike in projected revenue for 2022.
“We had a lot of big ticket items that we we’re trying to wrangle with and what we really wanted to do was put together a budget that was realistic and that was sustainable," said Joint Finance Committee co-chair Trey Paradee (D-Dover). "And I think ultimately that’s what we did."
The budget includes $500 across the board raises for state employees and $1,000 bonuses. There’s also a 1% pay raise for educators, in addition to step increases. It also allocates more funds for direct support professionals, helping to meet the goal of the McNesby Act.
And the spending plan features about $32 million for Opportunity Funding and other Redding Consortium efforts to address educational equity.
The record $1.36 billion Bond Bill funds makes a dent in road repairs and deferred maintenance, as well as new construction. It includes added funding to speed up completion of new Familt Court courthouses in Kent and Sussex Counties.
Carney applauded the work of the budget committee, the controller general and Office of Management and Budget director, all of whom are new to their positions.
Carney says he’s glad smart budgeting decisions resulted in a strong recovery for the state coming out of the COVD-19 pandemic.
“We came out of a pandemic where we lost hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue and fortunately we were set up in a strong position going in,” Carney said. “Because all of you bought into our approach to be reasonable on the operating side and set aside reserves — and we were able to get through that like no other state.”
And Senators passed the last budget bill, a $63.2 million Grant-in-Aid bill Wednesday that’s also the largest in state history. It was also signed by Gov. Carney Wednesday.