Delaware’s Budget Process: Part 3 – The Bond Bill. What is That?

The following blog post is the third 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 and second post in our series!

If you remember in our last two posts in this series, we detailed how Delaware’s budget process is a bit complicated but at its core, it isn’t much different from how you plan your own household budget. You make a plan, you edit the plan, you run the plan by your family members, make more edits and then finally agree on the plan.

The process for the state begins with Governor John Carney proposing a budget for Fiscal Year 2020 (FY2020). Then, a body of lawmakers called the Joint Finance Committee reviews the operational portion of the budget, making changes, additions or deletions along the way. This is now complete and the next stop for $10 million in clean water funding, $10 million in open space funding and $10 million in farmland preservation funding is for theJoint Capital Improvement Committee, commonly called the “Bond Bill Committee,” to review the budget and send to the entire legislature for review, proposed changes and a vote.

The Bond Bill Committee, made up of 6 State Senators and 6 State Representatives, appropriates funds for major and minor state-funded capital improvements. This year, they will hold public hearings with each state department and state agency the first week in April. Similar to the Joint Finance Committee, Bond Bill Committee members weigh the financial needs of all the agencies and departments and ultimately work towards creating a fiscally-sound budget that addresses our state’s biggest capital improvement issues.

During this process, the committee will study the proposed $10 million in open space preservation,$10 million in farmland preservation and $10 million clean water funding.It will decide if the proposed appropriations should remain funded as the Governor suggests, be re-directed to another more pressing issue, or diminished to meet a funding gap elsewhere. Then, the committee ultimately presents a final budget to the full legislature for a vote at the end of June.

It is imperative the Bond Bill Committee hears from you and knows this funding is essential to our environment, economy and health! Delaware’s water quality is one of the biggest issues facing our state; but also an issue where capital improvements can make a HUGE difference to so many facets of our everyday lives.

 

How can you help?
As a Water Warrior, we are asking you to participate and offer comment during this Bond Bill process.

There are a number of ways you can do this!

  1. Attend the Bond Bill Committee’s April 4, 9:30am public hearing in Dover: This is the scheduled hearing for all capital improvements related to Delaware’s natural resources, including open space preservation, farmland preservation and clean water funding. We encourage you not only to attend, but to provide brief (limited to 2 minutes) testimony on why this funding is important. For talking points, click here. For a full schedule of the Bond Bill’s scheduled hearings, click here.
  1. Write a letter to the editor to your local newspaper in support of this funding. Click here for step-by-step instructions on how to draft and submit a letter!
  1. Write a letter or email to the members of the Bond Bill Committee asking them to support open space, farmland preservation and clean water funding. We’ve provided talking points and the email addresses for each committee member here!
  1. Show your support on social media! Use this link to find sample social media posts and images for Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

The fight for clean water funding doesn’t stop at the Bond Bill Committee. Throughout June, the entire legislature will review and consider changes to the state budget. So, please join us on Tuesday, June 4 as we celebrate the amazing role that water plays in each of our lives and help advocate for healthy waters throughout Delaware at our new and improved 5th Annual Clean Water Rally – our biggest lobby day of the year! We will let legislators know why clean water is essential. Then, we’ll follow up this year’s Rally with a Water Celebration and Post-Rally Happy Hour at Fordham and Dominion Brewing Company. Join us for FREE food from a local food truck and numerous guest speakers who are ready to celebrate the progress that we have seen over the past five years! For more on this,  click here!

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