by James DeChene
The December labor report was recently released and shows that in 2016 Delaware had a net increase of 350 new jobs over the course of the year, and 2017 is looking to be the same, though there may even be a slight net loss for the year. The January report will reflect what truly happened in 2017, but odds are it won’t be pretty. Surrounding states have seen higher growth than Delaware: Maryland at 2%, Pennsylvania and New Jersey at over 1% - while we are shrinking, they are growing.
This week, members of the Joint Finance Committee started their budget process. Over the next five weeks, members will review agency budgets and various funding requests, including Grant in Aid, and will work to craft a spending plan using the Governor’s recommended budget as a starting point. While forecasted revenues show a 6% increase over last year’s, next year’s growth number is back under 2%. The challenge will be for legislators to be spendthrifts during a time of increased revenues, and planning for the out-years where spending obligations will continue to outgrow revenue. Not an easy task in an election year. More info to come as it develops.