Delaware budget proposal approved in State Senate

The proposed state budget for Delaware’s new fiscal year has taken one step toward adoption.

The State Senate voted 17-4 Wednesday to approve the spending plan for FY ’13, which begins this Sunday July 1st.

Senator Harris McDowell (D.-Wilmington) called it a lean budget, although “a little less austere” than in some previous years. Additional revenues, he said, enabled the state to do a few more things he said were “responsible and necessary.”

McDowell co-chairs the Joint Finance Committee, which spent months examining Governor Markell’s budget proposal that was first released in late January. Improving revenue projections in recent weeks allowed the state to offer a one-percent raise to state employees and to the pensions of retired state workers. McDowell said the budget also makes investments in schools, job growth, youth initiatives and affordable housing.

“It’s never an easy task,” McDowell said.

Senator Colin Bonini (R.-Dover), as he has in the past, voted against the spending plan. “We have to have a fundamental reevaluation of what the role of state government is in people’s lives here in Delaware,” Bonini said. “The current spending is just unsustainable. It just is.”

The budget totals just under $3.6-billion and increases spending about $78-million from the current budget. It is one of several items awaiting final approval as the General Assembly session draws to a close, likely very early Sunday morning in Dover.

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