Yesterday, the Washington State Economic Revenue and Forecast Council released a troubling update for 2011-13 state general fund revenue. Overall, the over $730 million dollars held in reserve in the recently signed budget is now projected to be only $163 million.
If this trend continues, mid-year and supplemental session cuts may be likely. Please see our OPB brief for a summary of this revenue report.
While the House and Senate have yet to finish sine die today, both capital and operating budgets are close to final.
The UW’s operating budget cut is $207 million over the biennium. UW’s cuts are comprised of “higher education reductions” and a mandatory 3 percent, general fund state compensation reduction ($12 million per year). Compensation reductions, while mandatory, are not imposed on individual salaries at the colleges and universities but rather, are required compensation savings targets that the University must meet over each fiscal year.
The final operating budget includes a 16 percent resident undergraduate tuition rate cap but provisions from E2SHB 1795 (tuition setting authority bill) are included. The UW Regents will meet June 9, 2011 to discuss tuition setting authority.
The capital budget provides $26.3 million in state bonds for projects like Odegaard Undergraduate Learning Center and minor capital repairs. Additionally, a separate capital budget bill appropriates $53.6 million in UW Building Fees for preventative maintenance and building repairs as well as minor capital repairs.
Please review the OPB’s conference budget brief which assumes that the operating and capital budgets are signed by the Speaker of the House and the President of the Senate in their current forms. We will notify campus of any major amendments once the Governor has reviewed the operating and capital budgets.
The Washington State Senate passed its budget last night after adopting two floor amendments. The budget cuts, compensation reductions, and policy issues we outlined were not amended in any substantive way in the engrossed budget passed by the Senate last night. Readers can examine the evolution of the House and Senate versions in detail here and here.
Regular session is scheduled to end this Sunday, but legislators will not be in Olympia over the weekend due to Easter. A special session will likely be called after the holiday and reaching agreement on a conference (negotiated) budget would be at the top of the agenda. For more information, TVW’s Capital Record blog provides an excellent summary of special session details here.
Senate Ways & Means leadership released their bipartisan budget last night after a 7PM press conference. Budget reductions total $4.8 billion and the largest cuts are targeted to K12 education, higher education, employee compensation across all sectors of state governemnt, and basic health.
The UW’s general fund appropriation is cut more in the Senate budget ($217 million) than the House engrossed budget, but the Board of Regents would be authorized to increase resident undergraduate tuition higher (16% per year). BEFORE tuition increases, the Senate budget cut would be a 34.2% reduction from our maintenance level.
The Senate budget contains two compensation related cuts, which are limited to employees paid from state general fund (GOF), the medical account, and the accident account (the latter two provide critical funds for Public Health).
- Like the House engrossed budget, the Senate budget includes 3% “compensation savings” reducing our appropriation by $24 million over the biennium. Individual salaries will not be affected but our general fund, medical aid, and accident approprations would be reduced.
- The Senate budget would require stepped furloughs for “highly paid” employees, excluding faculty and Harborview personnel. The budget bill does not contain language to this effect but rather, the budget overview indicates that the policy will be included, perhaps in SB 5860. The general fund cut for furloughs would be $10.2 million over two years.
A full OPB brief is available for review.
After considering numerous floor amendments last Friday evening, the House passed their operating budget on Saturday afternoon. The House budget appropriates $32.2 billion in general fund state operating funds and makes significant cuts to health and human services, K-12 education, and higher education.
Like the House Ways & Means chair budget, the engrossed budget cuts $204 million from the UW’s state general fund appropriation over two fiscal years. However, that reduction is somewhat mitigated by the fact that all UW units took part of these cuts in November 2010 permanently. As a result, our brief outlined the approximate cut (before tuition revenue) that would be implemented in Seattle should the House budget ultimately pass after negotiations between the chambers.
The engrossed budget contained an extremely important amendment which exempts university and college employees from individual salary reductions of 3%. However, institutions will still need to come up with requisite “savings” (read: cuts) of 3% from all appropriated funds, which for the UW, are general fund state and the medical aid and accident accounts.
The Senate is expected to release operating and capital budgets this evening. After the Senate passes its budget, leadership in each chamber will begin negotiations toward a conference budget.
The House released operating and capital budgets yesterday for the upcoming biennium (FY12 & FY13). This budget is an important next step in the budget development process in Olympia but we are far from having a final compromise budget.
The House operating budget proposal:
- Cuts state funding for the UW by $204 million over two years (32% reduction)
- Authorizes resident undergraduate tuition rate increases of 13% for both years
- Eliminates the State Work Study Program
- Increases the State Need Grant to adjust for increased tuition rates
- Mandates reductions equivalent to a 3% salary reduction
The House capital budget:
- Authorizes state funds for the Odegaard Undergraduate Learning Center renovation
- Provides some state funds for some minor capital repairs, the House of Knowledge, UW Seattle’s High Voltage Infrastructure Improvement project, and design-phase funding for Anderson Hall
Please read our comprehensive brief about the budgets and please post any questions or comments to the blog.
When the revenue forecast was released on March 17, House fiscal leadership indicated that their operating budget would be delayed. We hoped to see a budget on March 21st and then on March 29th. Tomorrow is April 1 and your analysts at OPBlog anticipate having neither budget drafts to write about nor fantastic prank ideas to implement.
Some news outlets indicate that we may see the House Ways and Means Operating Budget next week. Meanwhile, Senate Ways and Means chair Ed Murray, D-Seattle, is on record saying that the Senate will not release its budget until the House releases theirs.
We’ll offer full analysis of the budgets as they are released. Stay tuned!
Be sure to check out the latest OPB brief on the use of differential tuition at public universities. The brief primarily focuses on differential tuition by major or class standing, which is now in effect at over 50 percent of all public research institutions in the US.
You might notice links for a new website, UW Budget Watch, popping up on UW homepages (including OPB and right here on the blog).
OPB worked with Web Communications staff to develop one website that would consolidate many sources of information relating to the state budget and how it has and is expected to continue affecting the University. You will find links to blogs (the absolute best way to get the most up to the date and timely notices) and other UW and non-UW websites, as well as many educational documents, messages about the budget from UW leadership, videos about the current funding situation, and information about related UW initiatives.
We have found sites such as this very helpful in keeping up to date with our peer institutions, and we hope that our page will be as useful for anyone interested in keeping up on the latest developments.
So, visit the page often and we will work hard to keep it updated!
State Economic Forecast Council Director Dr. Arun Raha released the March revenue forecast today. This forecast serves as the revenue basis for the Legislature’s general fund budget in the 2011-13 biennium (FY12 and FY13).
2009-11 Biennium (FY10 & FY11)
While many economic indicators used in his analysis show tentative growth in 2011, revenue collections through March 10, 2011 were $85 million below expectations and growth through the next quarter will continue to lag expectations, contributing to an additional $80 million deficit in the 2009-11 biennium. Legislative leadership confirmed that an additional (fourth) supplemental budget will be needed to reconcile the new FY11 shortfall. The timing of that budget is unknown.
2011-13 (FY12 & FY13)
Weaker growth in several key sectors over the last three months prompted Dr. Raha to increase the projected deficit for the 2011-13 biennium by $698 million. The Legislature will use a $31.9 billion revenue base for the General Fund State. For comparison, the Governor’s December budget was based on a $32.1 billion general fund state budget.
While we anticipate the House will release their operating budget proposal next week, House leadership did not commit to a date.
The March forecast includes new data about the downside risks to our economy including the earthquake, tsunami, and risk of nuclear meltdown in Japan. Further, Dr. Raha states that the most significant threat to economic growth is the energy market. He fears escalating gas prices will continue to erode consumer confidence, regardless of job growth. These downside risk factors overwhelm any upside risks (employment growth, consumer confidence, and commodity prices) by 10 percent.
Please check this blog regularly for state budget updates as they become available.
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