The Delaware Economic and Financial Advisory Council lowered the estimate for state revenue for the fiscal year that starts July 1 by $19 million.
State lawmakers are getting down to the business of drafting a budget for the fiscal year that starts July 1. Members of the Joint Finance Committee will convene Tuesday to begin marking up Gov. Jack Markell’s proposed $3.8 billion operating budget, which is about 3 percent higher than this year’s spending plan. But lawmakers have a few hurdles in approving Markell’s proposal.
The panel that sets Delaware’s official financial projections lowered its revenue estimate for the upcoming fiscal year by $19 million from April’s estimate. That leaves a gap of about $41 million between projected revenue and Markell’s budget proposal.
But an even more immediate problem is how to close a $14 million hole in the current year’s budget before the fiscal year ends June 30.
Some Republican lawmakers are calling for a reduction in state spending in response to the lower revenue estimate. State Sen. Dave Lawson who represents Marydel wants the heads of every state agency to cut their spending by two percent. “We’re talking about only two cents out of every dollar, that’s not going to hurt the agencies or our citizens,” Lawson said. “But when you add it all up, it’s going to fund a lot of what the governor is looking for.”
Once the Joint Finance Committee finishes its work on the budget, state lawmakers have until the end of June to approve a balanced budget.