$4.6 billion outlined in Thursday presentation by Gov. John Carney

Gov. John Carney presented his Fiscal Year 2021 budget recommendations Jan. 30. The General Assembly’s Joint Finance Committee starts its consideration of the proposals Feb. 4. Overall the budget as proposed tops $4.6 billion, up by 3.99%.

According to a Jan. 30 press release, these are the highlights:

Historic priority investments

Clean Water: $50 million to establish a Clean Water Trust account to clean up Delaware’s drinking water and waterways. Includes increased funding for low-income and underserved communities.

$22.5 million for the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund $22.5 million for the Clean Water State Revolving Fund $5 million for Resource, Conservation and Development

Strong and Growing Economy: $50 million to ensure Delaware remains competitive through modernizing infrastructure, focusing on small businesses and fostering a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship

$20 million for the Delaware Strategic Fund to further economic development and small business EDGE Grants $10 million to expand Graduation Laboratory Space to drive bio-tech innovation and entrepreneurship $10 million for Site Readiness so businesses have options to locate and expand in Delaware $10 million for the Transportation Infrastructure Investment Fund to improve public infrastructure to support job-creating economic development projects

Capital Transportation Plan: $4.5 billion through 2026 to modernize Delaware’s transportation system

Improving schools for all children

Opportunity Funding: Second year of a three-year commitment dedicating $75 million for English learners and low-income students, and mental health supports

Increasing Access to Pre-K:

$2 million to provide 155 new quality child care seats $3 million for Early Childhood Assistance Program capacity building Goal: increase access by 50% in three years

Investing in Educators:

$29 million – 2% pay increase and steps for public school educators

Investing in Schools:

$183.7 million – School construction and renovations $36.5 million - Current year growth and projected school year 2020–2021 enrollment growth $4.6 million – School Technology infrastructure

 Partnering with Higher Education:

$20 million – Funding for the Higher Education Economic Development Investment Fund to supplement investments that Delaware’s institutes of higher education are making to improve job growth and economic development

Wilmington Schools Initiative: $50 million to support children in the City of Wilmington who need help the most. This funding will build upon previous year’s appropriations and will be directed toward the following:

Building a new state-of-the-art school on the East Side of Wilmington Extensive renovations at Stubbs Elementary and Bayard middle schools Establishing a dual-generation center at Stubbs Elementary school to serve students and families Establishing a workforce training center for the Gulftainer/ILA partnership at Palmer Elementary

Protecting our quality of life

Open Space and Farmland Preservation: $20 million to continue investments to preserve open space and farmland across Delaware Affordable Housing and Strong Neighborhoods: $14 million to clean up and restore abandoned properties, attack blight, and provide options for all Delawareans to live safely in communities Downtown Development Districts: $5.6 million to continue to encourage private investment in our towns and cities Public Safety Communications: $8.3 million to enhance communication systems Security in DOC Facilities: $4 million for security cameras Municipal Street Aid: $4 million to improve local roads

Investing in the state workforce

Investing in State Employees: 2% pay increase for state employees Continued support of Paid Parental Leave: Over 200 employees have taken advantage of the benefit to spend time with their newborn babies and young adopted children Investing in our Workplaces: $17.5 million for Kent & Sussex Family Court facilities $7.5 million for deferred maintenance for state buildings $2.8 million for Carvel State Office Building improvements and renovations

Long-Term Financial Sustainability

Based on Executive Order 21, the amount available for the operating budget is calculated based on an index relative to the overall economy to help reduce budget volatility. Any revenue above the index will be directed to one-time investments and savings.

Recommended: Setting aside $161.5 million over and above constitutional limits on appropriations, and limiting operating budget growth to 3.99 percent. This is less than the appropriation benchmark calculated by the Delaware Economic and Financial Advisory Council.