Markell’s $3.54 billion proposed operating budget represents a 1 percent increase over the current FY 2012 general fund budget. He said no tax increases or layoffs would be necessary.


Markell’s $3.54 billion proposed operating budget represents a 1 percent increase over the current FY 2012 general fund budget. He said no tax increases or layoffs would be necessary.


Markell’s $3.54 billion proposed operating budget represents a 1 percent increase over the current FY 2012 general fund budget. He said no tax increases or layoffs would be necessary.

Markell’s $3.54 billion proposed operating budget represents a 1 percent increase over the current FY 2012 general fund budget. He said no tax increases or layoffs would be necessary.

“It’s about investing in jobs, it’s about investing in schools and it’s about governing responsibly,” he said. “Governing responsibly means being a good steward of the tax payer dollar, and that’s what you’re going to see in this budget.”

While no specific cuts were mentioned in Thursday’s budget presentation, Ann Visalli, director of the Delaware Office of Management and Budget, said cost reduction strategies were figured in, including $4 million worth of cost-containment items relating to health care costs.

“There are many things I would liked to have done with this budget and there are lots of things I’m unable to do,” Markell said. … “We’re working with a finite amount of money and we try to make the best decisions we can make with that money.”

The governor will send his proposal to the Joint Finance Committee, made up of legislators from the House and Senate, next week to debate and formulate the final budget.

Here is a breakdown of the governor’s spending plan, at a glance:

Education

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

Markell proposed $8.7 million to fund teacher growth by 111 units for the 2012-2013 school year, $8.8 million to fund salary increases for public school and Delaware Tech employees and $750,000 to fund salary increases for paraprofessionals.

The governor is recommending that $116.1 million be allotted for public education capital projects, accounting for 65 percent of the total bond bill. A total of $9 million is recommended for higher education projects.

MAJOR CHANGES

One of the largest additions to the budget includes $27.4 million to fill a gap in Education Jobs Act funds previously supplied through a federal grant. These funds are used to maintain public and charter school staff, specifically teachers.

QUOTE OF NOTE “This was the schools’ number one priority,” said Visalli. “We were pleased to be able to address it, but it is the single biggest addition to the budget.”

Economic Development

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

The governor’s proposed budget includes recommendations for a number of initiatives to improve the state’s economy, including $2.6 million for libraries, $4 million for the state’s Housing Development Fund and $13.3 million for statewide trails and pathways (a hot-topic proposal that was mentioned in the State of the State address).

Markell would also like to allot approximately $8 million in capital funds for construction of the new Delaware State Police Troop 3 in Camden and Troop 7 in Lewes.

MAJOR CHANGES

A total of $30 million is proposed to replenish the Delaware Economic Development Office’s Strategic Fund, which is used to persuade big businesses to expand in Delaware. This amount is approximately $1 million less than the FY 2012 recommendation, Markell said.

QUOTE OF NOTE

“There are so many things to balance out in this budget,” Markell said. “We think that $30 million in the Strategic Fund is a good investment that we can really do a lot with in terms of putting people back to work. We had to make lots of choices.”

Health care

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

Markell is suggesting an additional  $21.7 million be provided to the Department of Health and Social Services to fund increased Medicaid costs.

Visalli said enrollment in the health insurance program is expected to increase from 214,000 to 234,000 people in the next fiscal  year.

MAJOR CHANGES

Last year, the governor proposed $5 million in cuts to the state’s health care system. This year, he is proposing $4 million more in cuts, which Visalli said could come in the form of managed long-term care, prescription drug and co-pay savings.

QUOTE OF NOTE “The problem is bigger than a co-pay here and a physical there,” Markell said. “That’s not going to get us there. It is incumbent on us to make some significant recommendations about the restructuring of how the state approaches health care more broadly.”

Transportation

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

The total proposed Transportation Trust Fund operating budget for FY 2013 is $346.4 million, which encompasses $56 million for operations, $78 million for transit, $86 million for personnel and $124 million for debt service. DelDOT is proposing $180.9 million be allotted for the Transportation Trust Fund Capital budget.

MAJOR CHANGES

Unlike years prior, Secretary of Transportation Shailin Bhatt said DelDOT is taking a new approach to its budget and operations, with plans to improve transparency, particularly in its real estate acquisitions, and pick and choose its projects wisely.

QUOTE OF NOTE

“DelDOT will save nearly $10 million this year by more efficiently managing our finances,” Bhatt said.