Show restraint with state spending (editorial)

Carney's budget "would grow the state operating budget by 3.4% next year, which is unsustainable over the long term with Delaware's current tax structure." Accordingly, DE could be back in the red by 2019. Much of the proposed new spending is of the one-time (versus every year forever) variety, however, which "could limit the damage to future budgets when hard decisions will be unavoidable." Legislators should heed the governor's advice not to blow the rest of the projected surplus in the current fiscal year, it may come in handy later.

While this may not be the year for a "grand budget bargain," a "do nothing" legislative session is not preordained. Secretary Karen Odom Walker is leading "a promising effort to set benchmarks that would limit the soaring cost of healthcare in Delaware." And "big ideas" are being discussed in Legislative Hall "to limit spending growth, reserve funds for bad budget years, [and introduce] "performance-based pay for state employees." So "when deficits inevitably reappear, [legislators] will [hopefully] be ready to finally tackle the systemic reform that is long overdue."

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