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Delaware budget planners get $23.9 million more to work with

(File/WHYY)

(File/WHYY)

The latest state revenue estimate shows Delaware will have about $24 million more to spend as Gov. John Carney prepares to present his FY 2019 budget next month.

In late January, Gov. Carney, D-Delaware, will deliver the second spending plan of his administration to lawmakers in the General Assembly. His budget team got a better look at how much money they’ll have to work with on Monday, from the Delaware Economic and Financial Advisory Council.

DEFAC’s December estimate for state revenue adds $23.9 million to the group’s revenue expectation approved at the group’s previous meeting in September. The total revenue estimate for the fiscal year that starts on July 1, 2018 now stands at $4.29 billion. That would be $50 million more than the state expected to bring in during the current fiscal year, which totals nearly $4.24 billion.

The estimate increased expected revenue from abandoned property by $37.5 million. DEFAC also expects a nearly $4 million increase in lottery revenue. The group lowered the estimate for revenue from the realty transfer tax by $6.6 million. The estimate for gross receipts tax revenue was also lowered by about $4 million.

Carney will use this estimate to finalize the budget he will present to state lawmakers in late January.

It took overtime for Carney’s first budget to get approved in Dover. He started out the year talking about “shared sacrifice,” that would be necessary to bridge a funding gap. Lawmakers were unable to reach a deal by the required June 30 deadline. It wasn’t until after 1 a.m. on July 3 before lawmakers reached a deal. It was the first time since 1977 the deadline passed without a deal.

After Carney signed the budget in July, he called it a “missed opportunity.” He said the failed effort to increase the personal income tax on wealthier Delawareans would have gone a long way to fund future budgets. “We’re going to be in the same situation next May, although it won’t be as bad as this year unless the economy really goes south,” Carney said in July.

Delaware lawmakers will return to Dover to start their legislative session on January 9.

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