Delaware’s Budget Process: Part 2 – The Joint Finance Committee

The following blog post is the second in a series of “Delaware’s Budget Process” blogs authored by the Clean Water: Delaware’s Clear Choice campaign. This blog series provides a roadmap for how Delaware’s budget process works and why it’s so important for our Water Warriors to get involved! To learn more about how the budget process begins in Delaware, please see the first post in our series!

If you remember in our last post, Delaware’s budget process kicks off with Governor John Carney proposing a budget for Fiscal Year 2020 (FY2020), which begins July 1, 2019 and runs through June 30, 2020. After writing the budget, the Governor introduces it to the public by addressing Delaware’s General Assembly (the state legislature) in his budget address. This budget address often occurs near the Governor’s State of the State address; but differs from the State of the State address as it is solely focused on financial issues.

Great news! Governor Carney gave his budget address on January 17, 2019 and included $30 million for conservation funding! The Governor has proposed $10 million for open space preservation, $10 million for farmland preservation and $10 million for clean water investment! Though the Governor has warned that today’s fiscal climate requires cutting the overall FY2020 funding from where it may have been last year and ensuring the state has funding in reserves, he did not cut this conservation funding! This is, in large part, thanks to your calls, emails, meetings and letters with the Governor! THANK YOU!

Now that the budget address has occurred, the legislature will review, and possibly modify, the budget. We have to keep this positive momentum going by urging the legislature to keep the full $30 million in the finalized and approved budget for FY2020!

The first body of lawmakers to review the $30 million conservation funding is the legislature’s Joint Finance Committee (JFC). The committee is made up of 12 legislators: 6 members of the Senate Finance Committee and 6 members of the House Appropriations Committee. The JFC is responsible for writing the state’s operational budget, proposing how much grant funding the state may give nonprofit organizations, and providing how much money legislators can consider spending on capital improvements. The budget the JFC pulls together is then considered and voted on by the full state legislature.  So, it is incredibly important the JFC knows Delawareans support $30 million in conservation funding and do not want to see that number decreased.

Take Action!

Write, email or call to the JFC Chairs (Representative Quinn Johnson and Senator Harris McDowell) and, if possible, the entire JFC Committee, to ask them to support the full $10 million for open space funding; $10 million for farmland preservation funding and $10 million for clean water investment in the final FY2020 budget.

For more talking points and for the full list of Joint Finance Committee members, please click 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!