Carney makes case  for budget smoothing plan

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Gov. John Carney again pledged to push for budget stabilization (smoothing) in his State of the State address.

Last year, Carney signed an executive order calling for setting aside money in good times for any upcoming downturn.

The order followed a failed effort by Carney and legislators to approve the first step of a two-phase process to put the provision in the state Constitution.

Click here for the text of the address.

In touching on the economy, Carney noted that the state has seen 10,000 new in the past years, with the jobless rate dropping to 38 percent.

Carney said a close eye must be kept on spending, even with the improvement in the economy.

“I don’t believe it does any good to spend money on ongoing expenses that we know we can’t pay for in the long-term. That’s why, at the end of the last session, I signed an executive order committing to a budget that limits our spending and creates a Budget Stabilization Fund to use in an economic downturn,” Carney told members of the General Assembly. “We will follow these principles in the budget I propose next week. We will propose to use one-time money for one-time expenses, like infrastructure, nutrient management, water and wastewater treatment, and facilities for higher education. Making responsible budget decisions now will let us fund the services Delawareans rely on when money gets tight in the future, and we know it will.”

Carney also pointed to the launch of the Government Efficiency and Accountability Review GEAR.

“Today, agencies and employees in every branch of government are working together on dozens of projects – reducing our leasing costs, launching online services, leveraging federal funding opportunities, and streamlining how we do business. This year, with support from the Delaware Business Roundtable, we’ll offer monetary rewards to state employees who come up with and implement innovative, cost-saving initiatives,” Carney said.

Carney also confirmed plans for a $60 million, three-year program that aims to improve the academic performance of English learners and low-income students in Delaware public schools.

The State of the Union address is a general outline of the governor’s priorities. A more detailed budget address follows the State of the Union speech.

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