budget

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DOVER, Del. (AP) - Democratic lawmakers tried unsuccessfully to strong-arm Republicans late Thursday as an impasse over a budget for the fiscal year starting Saturday continued to escalate.

Amid public criticism and partisan bickering over a decision by the Democratic-led budget committee Wednesday to zero out spending for an annual package of grants to nonprofit groups, community agencies and volunteer fire companies, Democrats drafted a bill to both restore that funding and increase personal income taxes to pay for it.

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Education and non-profits are taking a hit in Delaware’s budget process.

The Joint Finance Committee has voted to slash $27 million for the state’s public schools.

In addition, the committee has approved eliminating state grants-in-aid for non-profits.

Those were just some of the largest cuts approved by the budget writing panel.

But the Wilmington News Journal reports that Democrats are hoping to still persuade Republicans to go along with some tax hikes to close a $350 million budget shortfall.

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DOVER, Del. (AP) - Legislative budget writers are scheduled to resume their work as negotiations between Republican and Democratic leaders over a spending plan for the fast-approaching fiscal year have stalled.

The General Assembly's Joint Finance Committee was set to convene Wednesday, after a scheduled meeting on Tuesday failed to materialize.

Lawmakers are facing a gap of more than $350 million between estimated revenue and proposed spending for the fiscal year starting Saturday, according to Democratic Gov. John Carney's administration.

Don Rush

DOVER, Del. (AP) - House lawmakers are giving initial consideration to host of proposals by Democratic lawmakers to increase taxes on Delawareans to help balance the state budget.

Among the bills up for discussion Wednesday in a House committee is a proposal to raise income tax rates across the board, eliminate itemized deductions and increase the standard deduction, and creating a new tax bracket for income above $150,000.

The committee also will consider a competing proposal to create two new tax brackets at $125,000 and $250,000.

Don Rush

NEW CASTLE, Del. (AP) - A state panel has increased Delaware's revenue forecast for the current and upcoming fiscal years.

The Delaware Economic and Financial Advisory Council on Monday boosted its current year revenue estimate by $12.5 million compared to its May projections. The revenue estimate for fiscal 2018, which starts July 1, increased by $13.5 million.

Adding reversions of unspent funds, available revenue for fiscal 2018 increased by $27.4 million. That still leaves a gap of more than $350 million between estimated revenue and proposed spending for next year.

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The Sussex County Council has given its blessing to a proposed $143 million budget for the next fiscal year starting July 1st.

The spending plan does not include any increase in the property tax but does provide new dollars from the cash reserves to pay for critical services and infrastructure.

The budget also provides money for additional Delaware State Troopers in Sussex County.

There’s also $8 million for a pilot project to start major upgrade at the wastewater treatment facilities that will double their capacity.

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DOVER, Del. (AP) - As Delaware lawmakers try to hammer out a budget for the upcoming fiscal year, much of the work is still being done in secret.

Republican and Democrat leaders of the House and Senate continue to negotiate behind closed doors after the Democratic House speaker and Senate president directed the budget-writing committee to halt its work last month amid public outcry about cuts the panel had approved.

Meanwhile, the budget committee and legislature's controller general are refusing to release documents outlining further potential cuts.

Don Rush

DOVER, Del. (AP) - Republican lawmakers say changes to Delaware's prevailing wage laws need to be part of discussions with Democrats as lawmakers try to hammer out a budget for the fiscal year starting July 1.

Under state law, the Labor Department sets minimum wage rates for laborers and mechanics on certain public works projects. The rates are based on employer surveys in each county and often driven by union wages.

Critics say the prevailing wage needlessly drives up the cost of taxpayer-funded construction projects.

U.S. Navy

NORFOLK, Va. (AP) - More than 1,000 shipyard workers are projected to be out of work in the coming weeks.

The Virginian-Pilot reports that layoffs are sweeping the region's shipyards and subcontractors.

They're tied to the stop-gap budget measure that Washington was operating under for several months. It led to a kind of hiccup in the awarding of new Navy contracts for ship-repair work.

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The Wicomico County Executive and Council are at odds over the changes made in the 2018 budget.

County Executive Bob Culver charges that the council may have violated the county charter when it altered the spending plan.

The council trimmed Culver’s budget proposal by nearly $685-thousand using the cuts to provide a reduction in property taxes and $328-thousand for the school district to buy laptop computers.   

Don Rush

The Wicomico County Council approved a nearly $143 million budget for the 2018 fiscal year.

The spending plan also provides a small reduction in the property tax and money for the Wicomico County School District to buy some laptop computers.

One thing missing is any funding for a new station for the volunteer fire company that broke away from the Salisbury City Fire Department.

Cory Polidore, chief of the volunteer fire company, told the Salisbury Daily Times that this was “a slap in the face.”

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Wicomico County Executive Bob Culver has named Dawn Parks to head up the Finance Department on an interim basis.

She replaces Leslie Lewis who was fired by Culver last week.

The Salisbury Daily Times reports it’s not the first time Parks has filled in.

She is a veteran of the Finance Department including serving as acting finance director two years ago.

Lewis was dismissed last week without explanation and her departure comes as the county begins its budget deliberations.

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There could be a hike in Delaware’s corporate franchise tax hitting some of the biggest companies in the state.

It’s bi-partisan legislation that would come up with a new tax bracket and would require some of the biggest firms to pay a new top rate with a maximum of a quarter of a million dollars each year.     

The current maximum rate is $180-thousand.

WBOC reports that the measure comes as Governor John Carney and Delaware lawmakers are grappling with a $382 million budget shortfall in the upcoming fiscal year.

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NEW CASTLE, Del. (AP) - The panel that sets Delaware's official revenue forecast has bumped up its projections as lawmakers prepare to begin drafting a budget for the upcoming fiscal year.

The Delaware Economic and Financial Advisory Council on Monday increased its estimate of revenue available for the upcoming fiscal year by about $13 million, even though the forecast for personal income tax revenue for the current and next fiscal years declined by $24.5 million.

Don Rush

NEW CASTLE, Del. (AP) - The panel that sets Delaware's official revenue forecast is updating its projections as lawmakers prepare to begin drafting a budget for the upcoming fiscal year.

Monday's meeting of the Delaware Economic and Financial Advisory Council comes after the panel lowered its projections last month, the latest in a series of declining revenue forecasts.

The council last month lowered its revenue estimate for the current fiscal year by about $5 million compared to its March forecast. It reduced the revenue estimate for fiscal 2018 by $11 million.

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Republican lawmakers are rejecting pro-labor and pro-Medicaid expansion tweaks Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe tried to make in the state budget through vetoes.

House Speaker William J. Howell said Wednesday that he'd directed the House clerk not to include the attempted vetoes in the final enrolled version of the budget, saying they were invalid.

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - A $1.1 trillion budget bill that would keep the federal government running through September fully funds the program that has coordinated Chesapeake Bay cleanup efforts for decades.

The bill contains $73 million for the Environmental Protection Agency's Chesapeake Bay Program, which President Donald Trump has called for defunding.

Don Rush

Mayor Jake Day laid out a $58.8 million budget for the city of Salisbury yesterday that includes a 6.7 percent cut in property taxes

That amount will be come down from 96 cents for $100 of assessed property value.

The Salisbury Daily Times also reports that the mayor proposed an 11 percent cut for personal property taxes that businesses pay out for inventory and equipment.  

There will also be a major restructuring of city government creating five new departments and eliminating four others.

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DOVER, Del. (AP) - The panel that sets Delaware's official revenue forecast has lowered its projections.

Monday's meeting of the Delaware Economic and Financial Advisory Council was the first since Democratic Gov. John Carney proposed a mix of tax increases and spending cuts last month to balance a budget for the fiscal year starting July 1.

WXDE-FM reports the council reduced revenue projections by $4.8 million for the current fiscal year and by $11 million for the next fiscal year.

Don Rush

DOVER, Del. (AP) - The panel that sets Delaware's official revenue forecast is meeting to update its projections.

Monday's meeting of the Delaware Economic and Financial Advisory Council is its first since Democratic Gov. John Carney proposed a mix of tax increases and spending cuts last month to balance a budget for the fiscal year starting July 1.

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DOVER, Del. (AP) - Democratic Gov. John Carney is continuing a series of community meetings to talk to Delawareans about the state's budget challenges.

Carney is scheduled to join Republican state Rep. Lyndon Yearick for a "budget reset" community conversation Monday evening in Camden.

A similar community meeting is scheduled for Tuesday morning in Middletown with Republican Rep. Kevin Hensley.

Carney has proposed a mix of tax increases and spending cuts to balance a budget for the fiscal year starting July 1.

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DOVER, Del. (AP/DPR) - Delaware Gov. John Carney says his first months in office have brought into sharp focus the struggles the state must deal with.

Carney, a Democrat, says the General Assembly has been dealing with a nearly $400 million budget deficit.

"If we're going to tackle the tough issues that confront us, we need to get our financial house in order. We need a budget reset, a new plan to set us on a stronger financial footing and make our state more competitive."

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DOVER, Del. (AP) - Gov. John Carney is appearing before Delaware lawmakers to outline his political agenda for the next year and his priorities for his first year in office.

Carney, who took office in January, is scheduled to speak to a joint session of the legislature on Thursday.

Among the issues he is expected to address are the budget challenges facing the state and his ideas for creating jobs and growing Delaware's economy.

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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - The Maryland General Assembly has given final approval to the state's $43.5 billion budget for the next fiscal year.

Lawmakers voted Tuesday for an agreement reached between House and Senate negotiators, who worked out differences between the two chambers in the budget legislation.

Sen. Edward Kasemeyer says negotiators had to make extra cuts in order build up a general fund balance of about $100 million. That's after the Republican Gov. Larry Hogan submitted two supplemental budgets, which the Baltimore County Democrat described as "welcomed."

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There will be cuts but no new taxes.

That’s the upshot of the $284 million operating budget put forward by New Castle County Executive Matt Meyer.

The Wilmington News Journal reports that he is proposing $194 million in spending from the general fund which amounts to a 4 percent increase.

But Meyer expects a $13 million deficit over the coming year, which he says, will be met with spending cuts as well as the county’s tax stabilization reserves.

Meyers wants to reduce overtime and reinstate premiums for Medicare retirees.

Don Rush

The Indian River School District Superintendent Mark Steele says his students will get “slammed” under the state budget proposed by Governor John Carney.

He told the Wilmington News Journal that what would hurt the school system most is the decision to cut $22 million in the Education Sustainment budget.

Carney’s budget has also slashed $15 million from the school operating budgets.

For the district the cuts would amount to $1.7 million for the fiscal year of 2018.

House of Representatives

DOVER, Del. (AP) - Democratic Gov. John Carney is proposing a mix of tax increases and spending cuts to balance a budget for the fiscal year starting July 1.

Carney on Thursday unveiled his plan to maintain core government services while closing an estimated $385 million shortfall between expected revenue and expected expenses for fiscal 2018, based on current year funding.

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GLOUCESTER POINT, Va. (AP) - President Trump's budget proposal would slash funding by 25 percent at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science.

Associate Dean Mark Luckenbach says the impact would be felt throughout the Tidewater region.

For instance, VIMS gives guidance to communities trying to comply with Chesapeake Bay pollution standards. It also provides significant support to the growing oyster industry, including its breeding program.

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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - The Maryland House of Delegates has passed the state's $43.5 billion budget.
    
The House voted 135-6 for the measure Thursday. The bill now goes to the Senate.
    
The House also voted 112-29 for a companion bill that is working in tandem with the budget legislation to balance the state's books.
    
The measures passed with little debate, but lawmakers have expressed concerns about how changes in the federal government could affect the state's workforce and budget.
    

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Delaware Governor John Carney says that the state’s property tax is “too competitive”.

His remarks came during an interview on WDEL

The Wilmington News Journal reports that in a written statement Carney stopped short of calling for an increase.

He said he did not believe that the state’s budget challenges should shifted to local and county governments.

But he added Delaware must recognize that the property is very low compared with other states.

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