Delaware Public Media | by Joe Irizarry
House lawmakers easily approve the Fiscal Year 2022 operating budget.
The 2022 budget is a $4.77 billion spending plan and more than 4.9% bigger than this year.
It passed in the House by a 38-1 vote with two not voting.
State Rep. Rich Collins (R-Millsboro) cast the lone ‘no’ vote while Mike Ramone (R-Pike Creek Valley) and Democrat John Kowalko (D-Newark South) were the two not voting.
Collins was the lone ‘no’ vote, arguing taxpayers should get some money back since the state has a huge surplus this year.
“We have raised taxes – the General Assembly – since 2009 quite a few times. We had several really tough years in there where we raised taxes when we needed revenue. Well, now we have the most historic revenue surplus that we’ve ever had, and we’re not giving any of it back to the taxpayers,” said Collins.
But Joint Finance Committee co-chair, State Rep. Bill Carson (D-Smyrna( says this budget has many items that will help Delawareans.
“$17.2 million to increase reimbursement for direct support professionals, $2.6 million for home-based nursing, $16 million for student medical health, $22 million in education opportunity funds, $10.2 million for the Redding Consortium, $4.3 million towards expansion of SEED and Inspire scholarships,” said Carson.
The House also unanimously passed one-time supplemental spending for FY 2022 that will appropriate just over $221 million for one-time funded projects like technology needs, a police body camera program, and salary supplements for state employees and pensions among many others. It also sets aside money to implement legalizing recreational marijuana should that bill pass.