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Politics & Government

House lawmakers pass 2023 state budget

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Roman Battaglia
/
Delaware Public Media

House lawmakers adopted the state’s largest-ever operating budget on Thursday, directing millions of dollars to pay raises for state employees and increasing the pensions of retired firefighters.

The $5.1 billion budget exceeds Gov. John Carney’s proposed budget by roughly $200 million; the one-time spending bill the House also passed Thursday is nearly double the size of Carney’s proposal at $378 million.

Despite its size, the budget’s year-over-year increase isn’t a record; in fact, the roughly 7 percent increase is lower than current inflation rates.

And state Rep. Ruth Briggs-King says one key reason for the budget’s size are measures – like the pay raises for state employees – intended to soften the blow of inflation on both Delaware residents and state agencies.

"It would be remiss not to mention that one of the reasons for this is the high inflationary times," she said, "[like] the challenges we’re facing with recruitment, with retention, with providing senior tax credits and things that are built into this budget.”

The budget passed in the Senate earlier this week with only two votes in opposition; it passed the House unopposed. It now goes to Governor Carney’s desk

The final pending pieces of Delaware’s spending plan for fiscal year 2023 are the Bond Bill and Grant-in-Aid bill, which have yet to reach a vote in either chamber.