Lawmakers approved the largest Bond Bill in state history after days of debates and disagreements.
The budget bills are among the few Republicans have influence over. Lawmakers need at least 3/4th’s of their colleagues on board to pass the money bill each year.
And while this year’s operating budget was largely uncontroversial, the state’s $1.3 billion Bond Bill faced roadblocks from the House Republican caucus.
State Rep. Michael Ramone (R-Pike Creek) sought a tax refund, aimed at giving seniors a portion of the state’s surplus funds.
He was rebuffed by fellow Republican State Sen. Colin Bonini (R-Dover), who rallied the support of all Senate Republicans behind the Bond Bill.
“I mean I think we should have that discussion, and I think that discussion should happen with your leadership and the leadership of all four caucuses,” Bonini said. “And usually in years when there was a lot of revenue they would get together and sort of come up with a plan, but I’m concerned about derailing what I think is a pretty productive Bond Bill.”
Lawmakers on the Bond Bill committee agreed putting more money into the senior tax credit is worthwhile, but efforts to do so stalled because of system upgrades needed for the Department of Finance.
Committee co-chair Nicole Poore (D-New Castle) says giving back to Delawareans doesn’t always mean direct cash payments.
“We are absolutely giving back to people in the state of Delaware by the things that we are doing,” Poore said. “What you’re not seeing is this is an economic advantage for people to go to work.”
Other lawmakers emphasized the amount of good this Bond Bill will do, including major investments into the state’s deferred maintenance backlog, dredging projects in the Delaware Bay and road repairs.
The committee approved the Bond Bill unanimously, after reconvening following caucus meetings during the day.
The bill now heads to the House and Senate next week. The Joint Finance Committee will review and approve the Grant-in-Aid bill Monday.