Officials boost Delaware’s revenue forecast by $31 million

NEW CASTLE, Del. (AP) — Delaware’s official revenue forecast has grown slightly since lawmakers passed a $4.1 billion budget in July.

The Delaware Economic and Financial Advisory Council on Monday boosted this year’s revenue estimate by about $31 million compared to June’s projections.

That number includes an $11 million uptick in projected personal-income taxes and more money from limited partnerships and limited liability companies. The increase is separate from more than $200 million in new fees and taxes that lawmakers built into the fiscal 2018 budget after the council’s June estimate, and which were incorporated in Monday’s update.

State Finance Secretary Rick Geisenberger warned that the percentage growth in revenue for the fiscal year that began July 1 and ends on June 30, 2018, may be misleading, given that much of it is attributable to the tax and fee increases approved by lawmakers earlier this year, and one-time carry-overs from last year.

“You’re right back in the soup again for ‘19,” he told fellow council members.

Net revenue for this year is currently projected to grow at 5.6 percent, but the growth rate is expected to plunge to only 1.2 percent for Fiscal 2019.

“While what was enacted back in June helped to address the challenges that we have for fiscal year ‘18, as we start to put together fiscal year ‘19 and ‘20, we’re going to have some other challenges,” he said.

Nonetheless, increased projections in personal income tax, LP and LLC fees and abandoned property collection also led the council to bump up its revenue estimate for fiscal year 2019 by $63 million.

Meanwhile, the deadline for state agencies to submit spending requests for next year is Oct. 17, said state budget director Mike Jackson. Budget officials will hold public hearings in November on those requests as they draft a budget proposal for fiscal 2019.

“I think the important takeaway from today is trying to avoid building a budget where we’re relying on one-time sources of revenue,” Jackson said.

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