- Associated Press - Monday, May 23, 2016

NEW CASTLE, Del. (AP) - Lawmakers who meet this week to begin marking up Gov. Jack Markell’s proposed $4 billion budget for the fiscal year starting July 1 have almost $36 million less to work with than they did last month.

The Delaware Economic and Financial Advisory Council on Monday lowered official revenue projections for the current and upcoming fiscal years by about $18 million each compared to April’s estimates. After adjustments for spending limits, the net result is that available revenue for next fiscal year declined by $35.3 million.

The changes were largely driven by lower expectations for personal and corporate income taxes.

“It’s been a very, very weak April,” said Ken Lewis, chair of DEFAC’s revenue subcommittee.

Double-digit increases in expected income from abandoned property collections were not enough to offset the declines in other revenue categories.

Monday’s update follows previous downward revisions in March and April totaling $9.5 million for fiscal 2017.

Combined with the administration’s recent unexpected request for an additional $28 million for Medicaid spending next year, members of the budget-writing Joint Finance Committee are facing a gap of about $73 million between available revenues and Markell’s recommended budget. That gap does not include any pet projects of lawmakers or agency wish list above and beyond the governor’s proposal.

The finance committee had been scheduled to begin work Tuesday but issued an advisory Monday afternoon postponing its start date to Wednesday.

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