Thursday, January 27, 2011

Budget Release

Governor Jack Markell released his recommended budget for fiscal year 2012 today. Usually, a budget address by the Governor, attended by press and other interested parties, introduces the document. However, bad weather kept the event digital with release of the budget on the Office of Management and Budget website.

The state and the nation go into the third straight year of tough economic times. The recommended budget contains more than $100 million in cuts from state agencies and programs. Layoffs will happen among the "seasonal and casual" workforce. Included in the cuts is $7 million less for school transportation.

On the positive side of things, the state will fund 100 more teaching units as our schools continue to grow. Educator and other state worker salaries will remain frozen, however, no reductions or furloughs are being sought. Full day kindergarten in Christina and Milford will be supported by the state. And the new DCAS testing system will be funded.

Fortunately, rumored large cuts to Medicaid did not materialize although there will be plan changes and some hardship as the program struggles to keep up with swelling ranks.

The Governor's recommended budget now goes for a long look and a lot of work by the Joint Finance Committee. The JFC will work from now until March 15th on the budget while the rest of the legislature is on recess.

The JFC will be under the able leadership of chairs, Representative Dennis P. Williams and Senator Harris McDowell. Although it is fair to say that former senate chair, Nancy Cook will be sorely missed.

No comments:

Post a Comment