budget

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DOVER, Del. (AP) - The General Assembly's budget-writing committee is relying on cuts to nonprofit groups and money from a nationwide financial settlement to balance a spending plan for the fiscal year starting next week.

The Joint Finance Committee on Wednesday finished work on a $3.9 billion operating budget for fiscal 2016, roughly 2.5 percent higher than the current year's budget.

To help balance the budget, lawmakers agreed to use $25 million in one-time funds from a nationwide settlement involving mortgage-backed securities.

Don Rush

DOVER, Del. (AP) - The General Assembly's budget-writing committee is resuming work on a spending plan for the fast-approaching new fiscal year.

The Joint Finance Committee was to reconvene Monday to continue marking up Gov. Jack Markell's proposed $3.9 billion budget for the fiscal year starting July 1.

The committee's work got a little easier last week when revenue estimates for the current and upcoming fiscal years increased by about $33 million.

But available revenue is still about $15 million lower than when Markell unveiled his budget proposal in January.

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The Sussex County Council has unanimously approved a $128.6 million budget for the 2016 fiscal year that begins July 1st.

That’s up by $11.3 million or 9.6 percent from the current year’s figure of $117.3 million.

That’s mostly due to the long-planned sewer construction projects.

The operational expenses in the general fund went up only 2.9 percent which is well below the 3.3 percent growth rate in the property tax assessments.

The new budget will keep the county’s property tax rate at 44.5 cents per $100 of assessed value.

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NEW CASTLE, Del. (AP) - The panel that issues Delaware's official revenue forecast is providing its final update of the fiscal year.

Lawmakers will use Monday's update from the Delaware Economic and Financial Advisory Council to finish marking up Gov. Jack Markell's proposed $3.9 billion budget for the fiscal year starting July 1.

Last month, the estimate of revenue available for fiscal 2016 increased by about $18.5 million, following a decline of $22 million in April.

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Worcester County residents will see an increase in the property tax of 6.5 percent and a .5 percent hike in the piggyback tax after the Commissioner approved the budget for the 2016 fiscal year.

In addition, the public schools will receive its maintenance of effort money but will operate at the same funding level as 2015 despite a cost of living increase request.

Finally there will be a budget surplus of $1.5 million.

The Commissioners were facing a $22 million budget shortfall.

The spending plan was approved a 5-to-2 vote.

Don Rush

The Christina School District got another no from voters for its property tax increase request.

That will mean the district will begin its budget cuts and layoffs.

The vote was just nearly 6,000 to around 5,000 against the tax hike.

That was much closer than that blowout that occurred in February for a much large increase.

The proposal would have increased taxes on $100 of assessed property value by 37 cents.

It would have been spread out over a three year period.

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Property owners got a break as the New Castle County Council turned back the idea of bringing all assessments up to the current market price.

The Wilmington News Journal reports that several council members admitted that this was a political decision even though they supported reassessment.

Property assessments have not been revised since 1983 which the paper says are around a third of what they are today.

Council member Janet Kilpatrick said that there needed to be an education campaign before property values could be updated.

Virginia Revenue Up

May 14, 2015
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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Gov. Terry McAuliffe says Virginia's state revenues in April increased by more than 10 percent from a year ago.

Figures released Wednesday by McAuliffe's office show payroll withholding tax collections increased by 3.5 percent in April. Sales and use tax collections rose by 5.9 percent.

Collections of individual nonwithholding and corporate income taxes also increased.

Total revenue collections are up 7.5 percent so far this fiscal year. A budget approved in the 2015 legislative session projected 4.7 percent growth.

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Sussex County leaders have unveiled their proposed $128.6 million budget for the upcoming year.

That’s increase of 9.6 percent increase over last year largely due to sewer construction projects.

The spending plan does keep the property tax rate steady at 44.5 cent per $100 of assessed value.

The budget does include the phase in of a one-time sewer connection fee along with an $8 increase in sewer rates for current and new customers.

For one district, Long Neck, the hike will be $12.57.

governor's office

BALTIMORE (AP) - Gov. Larry Hogan has decided to maintain a 2 percent cost-of-living adjustment for state employees.
 
Hogan said Wednesday that $68 million will be made available for the increase in the next fiscal year.
 
The Republican governor says he saw firsthand how committed state employees are to Maryland citizens during last week's handling of unrest in Baltimore. He says state employees need and deserve the pay increase.
 

Don Rush

NEW CASTLE, Del. (AP) - The panel that sets Delaware's official revenue forecast is meeting to update its projections for the current and upcoming fiscal years.

Monday's meeting of the Delaware Economic and Financial Advisory Council comes one month after it made its first update of the year, lowering its revenue estimate for the current year by $39.4 million compared to its December estimate.

Don Rush

Mayor Jim Ireton has set a deadline of July 1st for Wicomico County to come to an agreement on tax relief for city residents when it comes to providing  city fire and emergency services.

If the deadline is not met those services will no longer be extended beyond the city limits.

That was the message from the Mayor to the City Council yesterday during a discussion of his plans for the 2016 fiscal year.

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Mayor Jim Ireton will lay out his 2016 fiscal budget for the Salisbury City Council this afternoon.

Issues in his spending plan range from the first ever reduction in Urban Service sewer rates and public safety to infrastructure improvements and a new zoo exhibit.

In addition, the Mayor is expected to bring up – what has been called -- the Nuclear Option for Fire Department and EMS service.

The Mayor is seeking tax relief from Wicomico County for duplicative services.

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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - Republican Gov. Larry Hogan says he is pleased overall with the way his first legislative session has ended, but he had his share of disagreements with the Democratic-led Legislature.

Lawmakers approved several scaled-back versions of Hogan's priorities, but the governor battled with Democrats over state spending.

Hogan's push to make charter schools more flexible was approved. He also won some tax relief on military pensions for people over 65. With help from Democrats, he also fulfilled a campaign promise to end state-mandated stormwater fees.

mdleg.maryland.gov

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - Maryland Democrats are standing firm in a budget standoff with Republican Gov. Larry Hogan.

The Senate president and House speaker held a news conference Monday morning on the last day of the session to say they will not back down on fully funding education, health programs and a cost-of-living adjustment for state employees in the budget both chambers already have passed.

Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller says Democrats "cannot pick and choose" who to cut between state employees, vulnerable adults and public school children.

msa.maryland.gov

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - It's crunch time for the Maryland General Assembly, and lawmakers still have a budget to pass.

The 90-day legislative session is scheduled to end Monday at midnight.

Gov. Larry Hogan proposed a budget compromise on Saturday, but it's unclear if the Legislature is willing and able to pass some of Hogan's legislative initiatives that the governor says are important to the deal.

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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - Maryland Senate and House negotiators are scheduled to meet to reconcile budget differences.

The panel is planning to meet Tuesday afternoon.

Del. Maggie McIntosh, who is on the negotiating team, says the House and Senate are very close to resolving differences in the Democratic-led Legislature. However, she says they need to bring Republican Gov. Larry Hogan into the conversation.

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There's an afterglow from the Maryland Senate vote that unanimously approved the $40 billion budget.

The surprise outcome caught many members cheering as the final vote count went up on the board.

Capital News Service reporter Anjali Shastri was there and describes the scene and the issues for Delmarva Public Radio's Don Rush. 

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe has signed a new state budget that includes a pay increases for state employees, boosts cash benefits for welfare recipients and has more money for the governor to spend on economic development.

The Democratic governor signed the budget Thursday at the Capitol while touting his good working relationship with Republican leaders on the state's spending plan.

McAuliffe did not try and amend the budget that state lawmakers approved last month.

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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - The Maryland Senate has voted unanimously for the state's $40 billion budget.
 
The vote was 46-0 Thursday.
 
Lawmakers made extra cuts to restore scaled-back education funding initially proposed in Gov. Larry Hogan's budget. A 2 percent cost-of-living adjustment for state employees also has been restored.
 
Democrats and Republicans spoke positively about the bipartisanship that went into the Senate's budget work.
 

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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - The Maryland Senate is scheduled to consider changes to the state's $40.4 billion budget plan.

Two budget bills that are working in tandem to balance the state's books for the next fiscal year will be before the Senate on Wednesday.

The House of Delegates approved the measures last week.

The House restored money for education that Gov. Larry Hogan had scaled back to help balance the state's books in the long term. The House also restored money for a 2 percent cost-of-living adjustment for state employees.

Don Rush

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - The Maryland House of Delegates has passed the state's $40.4 billion budget.

The House voted 129-10 Thursday for the budget bill, with 89 Democrats voting for the measure and 40 Republicans. Ten Republicans voted against it.

The House also voted 122-17 for a companion bill needed to balance the budget.

The bill restores education funding that had not been as high as Democratic lawmakers had been hoping for in Republican Gov. Larry Hogan's budget. The House also restored a 2 percent cost-of-living adjustment for state employees.

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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - The Maryland House of Delegates is scheduled to vote on the state's $40.7 billion budget.

The vote is expected Thursday afternoon.

The House has made room in the budget to restore education funding that had not been as high as Democratic lawmakers had been hoping for in Republican Gov. Larry Hogan's budget. The House also restored a 2 percent cost-of-living adjustment for state employees.

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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - The Maryland House of Delegates is taking up the state's $40 billion budget.

Lawmakers are scheduled Wednesday to consider changes to the budget plan for the next fiscal year, which begins July 1.

A House panel voted unanimously last week to make room to add more money for education and to restore a 2-percent cost-of-living adjustment for state employees.

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DOVER, Del. (AP) - Legislative budget writers are continuing their review of budget requests for one of Delaware's biggest government agencies, the Department of Health and Social Services.

Wednesday's agenda includes a discussion of the Medicaid and medical assistance programs, which account for more than half of the entire department's budget.

One concern for lawmakers is how to cut down on fraud and waste in the Medicaid program, which costs state taxpayers about $700 million a year.

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Wicomico County could soon have an elected school board.

Last night there was almost unanimous support from those attended a public hearing by the Board of Education.

Harry Basehart said that it should follow the model set by Caroline County where the board reflects the gender, ethnic and racial diversity of the local residents.  

Many complained that the Board is accountable to the governor not the county residents even though education takes up half of the Wicomico County budget.

legis.delaware.gov

Delaware lawmakers said no to Governor Jack Markell’s proposal to cut $12.6 million in property tax breaks for seniors.

The plan cuts in half the $500 state subsidy paid to seniors to help with their tax bills.

During a hearing by the Joint Finance Committee yesterday Senator Bruce Ennis told the governor’s budget officials that the reduction would be difficult to get through the General Assembly.

It’s part of Markell’s effort to balance his $3.9 billion budget which still goes up by 2.4 percent over current levels.

Don Rush

DOVER, Del. (AP) - Members of the General Assembly's budget-writing committee are set to begin hearings and discussion on Gov. Jack Markell's proposed $3.9 billion operating budget for the upcoming fiscal year.

The Joint Finance Committee was to convene Tuesday to begin a monthlong series of hearings on individual agency budget requests.

The committee was to begin its work with an overview of state revenues and Markell's budget proposal, followed by individual agency hearings for the state budget office and the Delaware National Guard.

Don Rush

The battle of the budget in Annapolis is about to begin. Republican Governor Larry Hogan took some sharp swipes at his Democratic predecessor Martin O'Malley at Marc Steiner's Annapolis Summit as top Democratic Legislative leaders took aim at his budget proposal. Delmarva Public Radio's Don Rush was there and filed this report.

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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - A Maryland board has approved a plan to address about $410 million of a budget shortfall for the current fiscal year to better position the state to tackle a deficit in the next fiscal year.

The Board of Public Works voted 3-0 Wednesday for the plan.

It includes about $206 million in cuts. Another $108 million will come from spending transfers. There also are some savings from early retirement offerings and cutting vacant positions.

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