Governor John Carney wrapped up the 2018 legislative session by signing a $4.2 billion operating budget and a $816.3 million capital budget. Working with the General Assembly, Governor Carney made progress this legislative session on many of the priority items laid out in his 2018 State of the State Address. Working together, we took action to expand the Port of Wilmington, provide additional supports for high-needs schools, authorize student loan incentives for teachers, enact new gun safety laws, create incentives for investments in Delaware small businesses, and offer paid parental leave for new mothers and fathers in the state workforce.
“Working with members of the General Assembly since January, we have passed and enacted legislation that will strengthen Delaware’s economy, help us recruit and retain quality workers, invest in our public schools, and protect communities across our state. It’s not always easy, but we worked hard to find areas of agreement across party lines, and to pass meaningful legislation with broad bipartisan support. At the end of the day, we made real progress in improving Delaware’s gun safety laws, providing additional resources for high-needs public schools, supporting Delaware’s families, and moving our economy forward. Thank you to members of the General Assembly of both parties for their partnership on these important issues.” – Governor John Carney
In the 2018 State of the State Address, Governor Carney outlined his top priorities for this year. By working hard and by working together, Delaware passed and enacted legislation that accomplishes these goals.
Beau Biden Gun Violence Prevention Act – Governor Carney signed this bipartisan legislation that will help restrict access to firearms for those who mental health professionals believe present a danger to themselves or others.
Addressing School Safety – Governor Carney supported bipartisan school safety legislation that was passed unanimously by members of the General Assembly. This legislation establishes a School Safety and Security Fund to provide resources for projects intended to increase security in Delaware public schools.
Paid Parental Leave – Governor Carney signed legislation that allows new mothers and fathers in the state workforce to take up to 12 weeks of paid parental leave after the birth or adoption of their children, making Delaware a national leader on family leave.
“As an initial step toward investing in our workforce, last week, I announced my support for paid parental leave for all state employees. This is the right thing to do for our workers, and for their children.”
Port of Wilmington Expansion – The General Assembly approved a plan crafted by Governor Carney, Secretary of State Jeff Bullock and Secretary of Finance Rick Geisenberger to significantly expand the Port of Wilmington.
“In the weeks ahead, we will present a plan for a new public-private partnership that holds the promise of significant new investments at the port. The plan will include a new port facility at Edgemoor, and expanded job opportunities in the years to come. These good-paying jobs stabilize families, and the neighborhoods where they live. Creating more port jobs is key to the economic success of our state.”
Angel Investor Job Creation and Innovation Act – Governor Carney signed legislation establishing a refundable tax credit for qualified investors in Delaware small businesses to spur job creation and innovation.
“It’s why we’re working with members of the General Assembly to increase access to venture capital for Delaware start-ups and to help entrepreneurs grow their businesses, by pursuing the Angel Investment Tax Credit. I hope to see this bill on my desk in the coming weeks.”
Opportunity Grants Expansion – Working with the General Assembly, Governor Carney appropriated $6 million in the Fiscal Year 2019 budget to significantly expand the Opportunity Grants program with targeted investments in high-needs schools.
“Working with you last year, we created the Opportunity Grants program to provide new resources to students who need it most. We reached thousands of students across 13 schools last year. Next week, we will be proposing additional funding for Opportunity Grants that will more than triple the number of schools receiving this support. Schools could use this funding for things like after school programs, reading interventions, or other resources to help students and teachers be successful.”
Educator Student Loan Forgiveness – Governor Carney worked with the members of the General Assembly to pass legislation offering $2,000 in annual student loan relief to Delaware educators in high-needs schools and subject areas. The additional incentives will help the State of Delaware recruit and retain teachers in schools with high concentrations of low-income students, students with disabilities, and English language learners.
“Teachers do our state’s most important job — working on the front lines to prepare Delaware children for the future. That’s why, working with Representative Bentz and Senator Townsend and DSEA, we will create a student loan forgiveness program for educators. This program will help us retain educators in our highest need schools and in the highest demand subject areas.”
High Quality Early Childhood Education – Governor Carney’s budget included $3.8 million to fund the growth of the STARS Program.
“And we know that students are best prepared for success when they reach kindergarten ready to learn. We need to encourage Delaware’s early learning centers to invest in their programs and to continue to grow. That’s why, I will propose additional funding for the STARS program in next year’s budget.”
Expanding Math Coaches – Working with the General Assembly, Governor Carney appropriated $1 million in the Fiscal Year 2019 budget to expand the number of math coaches in middle schools across the state.
“We also will propose expanding the number of math coaches in middle schools across the state. I saw firsthand the impact of these math coaches at McCullough Middle School in the Colonial School District. Math proficiency is critical in today’s workforce. I am committed to ensuring more of our educators get this type of support.”
Addressing Harassment in the Workplace – Governor Carney directed Department of Human Resources Secretary Sandy Johnson to analyze the state’s current sexual harassment policy and training, and the Department of Human Resources is implementing a series of changes to ensure that no state employee is made to feel uncomfortable or threatened at work.
“As part of our focus on improving workplace conditions for state employees, I directed Secretary Johnson to analyze our state’s current sexual harassment policy and training, and to recommend ways to improve it. In the coming weeks, we will announce a series of changes to ensure that no state employee is made to feel uncomfortable or threatened at work.”
Investing in our State Employees and Educators – Governor Carney’s budget called for a $1,000 raise for state employees and a 2% raise for teachers statewide, on top of annual step increases. Using one-time revenue, the General Assembly also appropriated funding for a $500 one-time bonus for state employees, and a $400 one-time bonus for all state retirees.
“And finally, and I’ll talk about this in more detail next week, I believe we need to pay our state workers more fairly.”
State Workplace Improvements – Governor Carney’s budget included $75.4 million to invest in state facilities, to increase productivity and make working conditions better for employees.
“State employees deserve to work in spaces that are clean and well-maintained. Unfortunately, many state office buildings have fallen into disrepair, are poorly lit, and are in need of a little TLC. I will be proposing money in my budget to invest in our facilities, to increase productivity and give us a happier workforce.”
Deer Population Management – Governor Carney called for the creation of a deer management program to protect Delaware’s farms from crop damage in an effort to help make family farms more profitable.
“And it’s also why we’ll be creating a new deer management program, to protect Delaware’s farms from crop damage. Agriculture is part of our Delaware heritage — it’s our number one industry, and it’s a way of life. The best way to protect and preserve family farms is to help make them more profitable.”
Budget Smoothing Executive Order – Governor Carney signed an executive order that will create a benchmark budgeting mechanism, and a Budget Stabilization Fund for budget planning, to help the State of Delaware take a more sustainable, long-term approach to annual budgeting.
“When we left here last, we had worked through disagreements in balancing a $400 million budget shortfall. I said then — and believe today — that more work needs to be done to ensure our long-term financial sustainability.”