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General Assembly approves fiscal year 2025 budget, 9.3% increase from current year

Joint Finance Committee Chair Trey Paradee (D-Dover) discusses the fiscal year 2025 budget on Thursday in the Senate Chamber at Legislative Hall.
Sarah Petrowich
Delaware Public Media
Joint Finance Committee Chair Trey Paradee (D-Dover) discusses the fiscal year 2025 budget on Thursday in the Senate Chamber at Legislative Hall.

The Delaware General Assembly approves the fiscal year 2025 budget, sticking fairly close to the governor’s spending recommendations.

The 2025 operating budget totals $6.1 billion dollars, a 9.3% increase from the current year.

Joint Finance Committee Chair State Sen. Trey Paradee (D-Dover) explains over $94 million is allocated for inflation and volume increases in statewide Medicaid service needs, one of the state’s largest spending factors.

“What is really driving budget growth in this state continues to be increases in Medicaid and, again, trying to take care of our state employees and make their wages competitive with the private sector," Paradee said.

He notes the budget allocates $95 million for state employee pay raises — the third year in a row state employees will receive a pay increase — and also contributes $50 million to the stabilization fund to cover next year’s costs associated with educator salary raises.

It also includes an addition of over $132 million to cover the state share of state employee and state retiree health insurance premiums, as well as $39 million to cover projected growth in Delaware schools.

In the House, some Republicans argued the state's spending increase has gone too far, noting Delaware's expenditures have increased almost 20% in two years.

"I find it very challenging that we're going to be able to keep that pace without some very serious discussions in how we're going to acquire that additional revenue because we've never really found any way to quench our insatiable appetite to spend," House Minority Whip Lyndon Yearkick (R-Magnolia) said.

While the bill passed in the Senate unanimously among members present, the House garnered three no votes from Republican representatives.

Lawmakers also passed a one-time supplemental bill that allocates over a combined $100 million to retiree healthcare funding needs and post-retirement increases for state pensioners, as well as $3.5 million for residential and childhood lead prevention and remediation.

Before residing in Dover, Delaware, Sarah Petrowich moved around the country with her family, spending eight years in Fairbanks, Alaska, 10 years in Carbondale, Illinois and four years in Indianapolis, Indiana. She graduated from the University of Missouri in 2023 with a dual degree in Journalism and Political Science.