Grants-in-Aid restoration urged by GOP reps as revenue picture remains rosy

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Delaware House Republicans are calling for the restoration of Grants-In-Aid funding after revenue estimates were raised by $47.5 million.

The Delaware Economic Financial and Advisory Council (DEFAC) released its last state revenue forecast Monady in advance of the new fiscal year that begins in less than two weeks.

Last year, lawmakers faced a far different landscape as they sought to bridge a nearly $400 million budget gap. Legislators cut 20 percent, or $8.64 million, from the current GIA program, GOP legislators noted.

In his proposed spending plan, Gov. John Carney called for the Grants-in-Aid Bill to receive $41.7 million, restoring a little more than half of what was cut. Revenue estimates have continued to increase since that budget plan was proposed.

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Democrats remained largely silent about the latest DEFAC report. The party controls both chambers. However, Republicans have some leverage in the Senate, due to the Dems narrow majority.

There are also concerns from budget hawks that legislators are tapping into money that comes from one-time sources and will lead to painful decisions down the road.

Last year, GOP senators balked at passing the budget and did gaina few compromises.

“It’s clear that the money is available,” said State House Minority Leader Danny Short, R-Seaford, who is also a DEFAC member.

All legislators took a hit from the sharp cut in Grants-in-Aid, with nonprofits blaming the action on cuts in needed programs and even staff layoffs

Short said restoring GIA funding, it comes with a caveat. “We believe the groups receiving Grants-in-Aid funds need to be subject to more accountability,” he said. “It is, after all, public funding.”

Critics have long claimed Grants-in-Aid favor well-connected nonprofits to the exclusion of other organizations.

Work is underway on a constitutional amendment that would smooth out budget ups and downs and perhaps prevent severe cuts like those that took place with Grants-in-

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