Failure to Fund the McNesby Act in Delaware’s FY 2021 Recommended Budget Ignores Findings of Economic Impact Study Data Released Today

Independent third-party economic study verifies that Delaware’s investments in services for intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) would create a five-fold impact on Delaware’s economy. Gov. Carney’s FY 2021 recommended budget does not include new funding for these services.

The FY 2021 recommended budget for Delaware that Gov. Carney unveiled on Thurs., Jan. 30, 2020 did not include new funding for the McNesby Act. The Act, which passed unanimously in 2018, promised to fully fund services for intellectual and developmental disabilities. To date, that promise has not been fulfilled, as it is estimated that $38 million is needed to keep that promise.

“We were stunned to learn that there was no additional funding for the McNesby Act included the FY 2021 DDDS budget that Gov. Carney recommended last week,” said Thomas Cook, executive director of the Ability Network of Delaware. “Although a contingency for unspecified ‘providers’ was included, the governor’s budget did not even endorse the $2.6 million recommended by Sec. Walker, which leaves us wondering how the contingency fund will be used. Meanwhile, Delaware is losing direct support professionals to nearby states and other industries, and the people who need services are suffering.”

The Ability Network of Delaware (A.N.D.) released an independent study from Econsult Solutions today examining the economic impact of chronic underfunding of Delaware’s services for I/DD. The report, “The Economic Case for Increased State Investment in Health and Social Services in Delaware,” reveals that Delaware is losing more than $52 million every year in federal matching Medicaid funds by not fully funding the state’s services for I/DD.

In addition to these lost federal dollars, Delaware incurs an opportunity cost related to underfunding these services: Hundreds of Direct Support Professional (DSPs) positions go unfilled, and millions of dollars in earnings and state tax revenue go uncollected.

“It’s our goal to work with the state to find a sufficient and sustainable solution to underfunding that is creating a workforce crisis for Delaware’s I/DD service providers and a social crisis for the people who receive these services,” said Cook. “Failing to fund these services adequately reverberates across Delaware’s economy.”

The report highlights include:

  • State investment in I/DD services multiplies and injects more economic activity into local communities: Every dollar invested by Delaware in disability services is matched by $1.38 in federal Medicaid dollars.  An additional $10 million investment by the state in these services would create 460 jobs outside the social service system, resulting in $20 million in earnings by those job holders, which would bring in $1.4 million more in state tax revenue.
  • Stagnant funding leads to job loss: Lack of funding has led to turnover among Direct Support Professionals who care for people with I/DD. Uncompetitive wages force these professionals to seek jobs in neighboring states and in other industries where they can earn up to 47% more.
  • The need is growing: Service providers in Delaware will need to provide service to more people when their families can no longer provide it. Additionally, the increased incidence of autism spectrum disorder has created more demand for these services.

The full report is available at

About Econsult Solutions

Econsult Solutions is a Philadelphia-based economic consulting firm that provides businesses and public policy makers with economic consulting services in urban economics, real estate economics, transportation, public infrastructure, development, public policy and finance, community and neighborhood development, planning, as well as expert witness services for litigation support. Its principals are nationally recognized experts in urban development, real estate, government and public policy, planning, transportation, non-profit management, business strategy and administration, as well as litigation and commercial damages. Staff members have outstanding professional and academic credentials, including active positions at the university level, wide experience at the highest levels of the public policy process and extensive consulting experience.

About the Ability Network of Delaware

By uniting and focusing on what we can achieve together, the Ability Network of Delaware (formerly DelARF) builds strength across Delaware’s disability community. We are a connecting force that functions as a statewide membership association of agencies, all working to support people with disabilities. Membership is open to organizations that provide direct services, advocacy and/or educational services to Delawareans with disabilities, their families and advocates.