The Impact of Creating Civil Unions for Same-Sex Couples on Delaware’s Budget

By Jody L. Herman, Craig J. Konnoth, M.V. Lee Badgett
March 2011

This report analyzes the impact on Delaware’s state budget of introducing civil union rights for same-sex couples. It estimates that a law recognizing civil unions between same-sex partners will cost the State $1.18 million over the three years following the measure, or only $390,000 per year. The costs and benefits accrued will change every year, as the number of same-sex couples entering civil unions each year will change. The State will see savings in expenditures on state means-tested public benefit programs, and an increase in state license fees and spending and tourism revenues. These savings will be outweighed by losses in estate tax, income tax, and transfer tax revenues and increased expenditures on state employee benefits. The annual effect is a tiny fraction—on average a mere one hundredth of one percent—of the State of Delaware’s annual $3.3 billion budget over three years.

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