On the heels of the largest bond bill in state history being passed by the General Assembly Wednesday, the State Senate rubberstamped a $63.2 million grant package, closing out a markedly peaceful week of budget discussions.
The FY 2022 Grants-in-Aid bill includes funds for fire companies, ambulance services, senior centers, veterans’ organizations and community groups, many of which handle state programs such as daycare, afterschool care and senior citizen programs.
This year’s bill allocates funding to 39 nonprofit agencies and community organizations that were not included in last year’s legislation, according to Scott Goss, communications director for the Senate Democratic Caucus.
The state’s surprisingly flush finances made the record $1.35 billion bond bill and generous Grants-in-Aid bill possible.
Finance officials had expected to have to tighten the state’s belts for the Fiscal Year 2022, which starts Thursday, as the state came out of the COVID-19 pandemic. Instead, it ended up with $1.2 billion in surplus funds, thanks to fees and taxes paid by corporations headquartered in Delaware, huge federal COVID-19 payments, expanded unemployment payments, larger than expected personal income tax payments, taxes on large employee bonuses from last year, record real estate transfer taxes and a rise in lottery and gambling income.
Rep. Bill Carson, D-Smyrna, who serves as co-chair of the Joint Finance Committee, celebrated the passage of the bill.
“We were fortunate this year to be able to produce a very robust Grant-in-Aid package that helps support many of the organizations that form the bedrock of our communities across the state,” he said. “The resources in this bill are going to do a lot of good for a lot of people.”
Sen. Trey Paradee, D-Dover, echoed Carson’s sentiment.
“This legislation will provide much-needed support to our nonprofit community, which was dealt a serious fundraising blow by the COVID-19 pandemic,” Paradee said. “From fire companies and paramedic services to shelters, substance abuse services and community arts organizations, these organizations deliver invaluable services to our most vulnerable neighbors and give us an unbelieve return on our investment.”
The $63.2 million grant package includes:
$7.9 million for one-time community organization support;
$13.9 million for emergency medical services;
$897,294 for senior centers, eldercare, and aging services;
$2.2 million for the arts, historical and cultural organizations, and tourism;
$4.2 million for disability, health, and labor organizations;
$5.5 million for family and youth services;
$1.2 million for alcohol and substance abuse organizations;
$6 million for neighborhood and community services;
$7.1 million for fire company equipment maintenance, training, and operation;
$431,348 for veterans organizations
Carney is expected to quickly sign the legislation.
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