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From the Desk of Executive Director Bryon Short

From the Desk of Executive Director Bryon Short - July 14, 2023

Although the General Assembly passes hundreds of new pieces of legislation each session, it is constitutionally required to pass only one piece of legislation – Delaware’s Operating Budget. Coming in at $5.6 million, Delaware’s FY 2024 Operating Budget is approximately 10% higher than last year’s budget. In addition to the Operating Budget, Delaware has two other budgets that are approved via legislation. The Grant-in-Aide Budget funds non-profits operating in the state with the perspective that they are performing work that would otherwise be performed by the state. The Capital Improvement Budget is the most important to the construction industry.

We’ve seen one historically high Capital Improvement budget after the other passed over the past several years. This year’s Capital Improvement Budget came in at $1.4 billion providing funding for the below infrastructure investments:

$354.2 million for road projects

$200 million for new school construction projects

$177 million for deferred maintenance at state facilities

$60 million for UD, DSU and DTCC projects

$44 million for corrections maintenance projects

$34 million for Kent and Sussex Family Courthouse projects

$27 million for Customs House Facility

$21 million for Troop 4

$16.5 million for library construction

$15.5 million for minor capital improvements, leveraging $7.1 million in local funding for public school maintenance projects

$10 million for drainage improvements

When the Delaware Economic and Financial Advisory Council (DEFAC) held its final meeting for FY 2023 mid-way through June, an additional $84 million in revenue was projected for FY 2024. Although FY 2024 revenue projects received a bump just prior to the state’s budgets being finalized, Joint Finance Committee Co-chair, Senator Trey Paradee, made a point of noting that revenue projections are down for coming years. Fortunately, Governor Carney’s budget smoothing approach has reserves to help dampen the impact. We should all keep our fingers crossed that with inflation coming down and the Federal Reserve adjusting its interest rate policies, Delaware’s revenues will stay in a place were we can continue to make smart investments in our infrastructure and construction economy.

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