From: Delaware Live!
When the General Assembly passed a record-setting $1.3 billion bond bill last week, the spending package did not include a list of the $70 million in projects chosen by legislators for their districts.
The Community Redevelopment Fund includes one-time allocations which legislators earmark for nonprofits, schools, and community agencies in their districts.
Ordinarily, each organization receiving funding would have its own line item within the bond bill. This way, if a legislator should object to particular recipients of funding, they could vote accordingly.
But this year, because of the amount of funds available and the number of organizations that applied, the total $70 million fund was listed as one line-item under the assurance that the list of recipients would be made public once finalized.
Both the House and Senate passed the budget, and Gov. John Carney signed it without the list.
Some legislators say the list should be included in the bond bill as a matter of transparency so it could be presented to the public before a vote.
Others say the decisions had already been made but the list itself had not been collated, and that in order to meet the June 30 deadline, this was how it had to be done.
Rep. Jeff Spiegelman, R-Clayton, argued that while he recognizes the unique challenges the state faced this year because of the unusually large budget, structural problems were revealed within the bond process itself.
“This year proved that the bond structure was ill-equipped to handle the amount of money we had. What this has resulted in is essentially a gentlemen’s agreement with tens of millions of taxpayer dollars on the line,” said Spiegelman. “This is the very definition of pork-barrel-spending, where legislators have this big pile of cash and they’re forced to play a game of ‘come and grab it’ for these funds.” Read more: https://delawarelive.com/list-of-bond-bills-community-projects-still-unpublished/