Delaware’s Budget Process: Part 1 – Where It All Begins, The Governor’s Budget Address

The following blog post is the first in a series of “Delaware’s Budget Process” blogs authored by the Clean Water: Delaware’s Clear Choice campaign. This blog series will provide a roadmap for how Delaware’s budget process works and why it’s so important for our Water Warriors to get involved!

New Year, New Budget! Government services such as schools, social services, law enforcement and our state parks all require money – so they all require a budget! The same process you might go through right at your kitchen table for your household budget is not too different than the State of Delaware’s process. But it can be confusing with all the jargon and extra steps. Consider this your go-to tool for Delaware’s budget process!

In Delaware, when the governor gives his budget address each January, he kicks off a 5-month process that includes reviews by two legislative committees: The Joint Finance Committee (which reviews operating funds like payroll, pensions and benefits, and rent) and the Joint Capital Improvement Committee, commonly called the “Bond Bill Committee,” (which reviews funds for capital improvements like sewer infrastructure, parks, and building upgrades). These committees then come together to present the year’s budget to the legislature for approval.

On January 17, 2019, Governor John Carney will be giving his budget address for Fiscal Year 2020 (FY2020), which encompasses July 1, 2019 through June 30, 2020. The budget the governor will propose provides a strong framework for the General Assembly (Delaware’s state legislature) to work with when crafting and eventually passing the budget for FY2020 — so it’s incredibly important Governor Carney knows funding for clean water is a priority for Delawareans!

Last year, Governor Carney proposed, and the General Assembly approved, $10 million for open space preservation; $10 million for farmland preservation. Thanks to your advocacy efforts we were able to increase the investment for clean water from $6 million that was recommended by the Governor’s budget to $10 million.  This was the first time in years open space and farmland preservation received full funding; and the first time in decades funding for water quality improvements was increased. It was thanks to your calls, emails, meetings, and letters that ushered this very important funding across the finish line. And with Governor Carney crafting his budget address for FY2020, we need to keep this momentum going into the next fiscal year!

Take Action!

Write a letter, send an email or make a call to the Governor’s office asking him to support full funding ($10 million each) for open space, farmland preservation and clean water investments in his FY2020 address. We’ve provided talking points and the Governor’s contact here.

If you have any questions or need further information on how to make your voice heard, don’t hesitate to contact us at laura@delnature.org – we’re happy to help!

Stay tuned as we keep you up-to-date on the budgetary process and provide easy ways you can participate in the months ahead!