Friday, June 17, 2011

Budget, Bond, and Grant In Aid

The Joint Finance Committee finished all their work yesterday by completing the Grant In Aid process. Last week they completed budget markup and the published budget bill (HB 190) was distributed on the floor of the House on Tuesday of this week.

None of it becomes reality until both chambers pass the budget and the grant in aid bills. Additionally, some economic decisions regarding construction projects, job creation initiatives, and tax breaks will be taken up by the Bond Committee on Monday, June 20th.

The Bond Committee will be more tight fisted with projects than they might have been after this week's economic forecast. The Delaware Economic and Financial Advisory Council (DEFAC) which estimates state revenues reported an additional $18 million for the fiscal year, but this is after a month of rumors that it might be as big as $40 million. Moreover, their projections show revenue will drop around $38 million in fiscal year 2012.

On a bright note, one of the additions that the Joint Finance Committee was able to do before finishing markup, was make a small investment toward improving paraprofessional pay. In addition to step increase, paraprofessionals will receive an additional $875 on scale. This is a much better deal for paraprofessionals that the original 2% increase.

Finally, in the closing days of the session a charter school regulation bill will be put forward by the Markell Administration to deal with recent problems that have arisen with a few of those schools. DSEA will be involved in trying to influence the legislation.

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