Legislative Leaders Issue Statement on Budget Process

DOVER – House Speaker Pete Schwartzkopf and Senate President Pro Tempore David McBride issued the following joint statement regarding Joint Finance Committee:

 “Legislative leaders have instructed the Joint Finance Committee to cancel its meetings for the remainder of the week to allow the leaders of all four caucuses to meet and continue discussions regarding raising additional revenue.

 “We understand that JFC already has completed a first round of budget cuts, which drew on Governor Carney’s recommendations. Yesterday, the committee began a second round of deep cuts that could have serious long-term consequences for Delawareans. These include slashed education and public health programs – programs that provide the stability and foundation for middle class families to thrive and help grow Delaware’s economy.

 “We heard loud and clear from legislators, community stakeholders and affected residents about these potential cuts and we understand those sentiments. For that reason, we have asked JFC to take a step back and give legislative leaders the opportunity to meet and see if there is room for compromise to raise additional revenue so that we can balance any cuts we might have to make to the budget.

“This is a simple mathematical issue: Solving our budget issues requires both parties to work together and reach consensus. Budget issues are not partisan, and neither are the solutions. We must use this opportunity to fix the structural problems with our budget so we have sustainable revenue to maintain important services to all residents. We must fix those structural issues that the DEFAC revenue subcommittee identified so we don’t find ourselves in a similar position in future years.

“We are optimistic that both sides can work together to produce a responsible, balanced budget that protects services for Delawareans and puts us in a better position for the future.”