Proposal to Use "Unexpected Tax Revenue" to Help Low-Income Dela - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Proposal to Use "Unexpected Tax Revenue" to Help Low-Income Delaware Students Draws Praise, Raises Budget Concerns

Posted: 12/05/2017 19:39:00 -05:00 Updated:

DOVER, Del. --- Delaware Attorney General Matt Denn and a coalition of nonprofits and other groups on Tuesday called on state lawmakers to use tens of millions of dollars in "unexpected tax revenue" to assist low-income students around the state, though the proposal drew some criticism from legislators who pointed to purported issues with the state's budget process.

The Coalition for Delaware's Kids said it wants the state to create a trust through what it said was more than $50 million in "unexpected tax revenue" collected during Fiscal Year 2017. The money would be used over four years, rather than used all at once and would include measures like funding health, education, re-entry and other programs, including funding a proposed “recovery high school,” according to the proposal.

"There will be a temptation to use all of these funds to balance next year’s budget. We encourage the state to do something else: to place these funds in a trust to be spent over a four-year period to enhance the support that the state provides to children who desperately need the help," the group wrote.

But some state lawmakers said on Tuesday they weren't ready to support the initiative because it's unclear how the state's finances will appear in 2018. 

Rep. Jeff Spiegelman (R-Clayton) said the idea that Delaware collected roughly $55 million shows how Delaware's budget process and revenue projections are flawed, especially in light of the budget crisis over the summer that saw lawmakers miss their deadline to pass a spending plan.

"That's the thing that drives people crazy," said Rep. Jeff Spiegelman (R-Clayton. "We couldn't even pay our bills on time last year and now all of a sudden we found money and now we're talking about new programs."

Jon Starkey, a spokesman for Gov. John Carney, said in a statement that he appreciated the proposal and agreed with the need to invest in Delaware schools.

"The Attorney General’s proposal is in line with the Governor’s priorities. Governor Carney will remain committed to those priorities as he considers a broad range of budget proposals, and presents a balanced budget plan to the General Assembly late next month," he said.

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