Office of Planning and Budgeting

On Wednesday, the Washington state Economic and Revenue Forecast Council released its November revenue forecast, which projected a slight increase to General Fund-State (GF-S) collections over the September revenue forecast. The GF-S revenue forecast increased by $215 million for the current 2015-17 biennium and $137 million for the 2017-19 biennium.

  • Final GF-S revenue collections for the 2013-15 biennium were $33.666 billion.
  • Total projected GF-S revenue for the 2015-17 biennium is now $37.980 billion, 12.8 percent more than the 2013-15 biennium.
  • Total projected GF-S revenue for the 2017-19 biennium is now $40.514 billion, 6.7 percent more than the 2015-17 biennium.
  • Total projected GF-S revenue for the 2019-21 biennium is now $43.656 billion, 7.8 percent more than the 2017-19 biennium.

Behind the numbers:

  • The forecast attributes the higher projections due mainly to increases in retail sales tax and Real Estate Excise Tax (REET) collections.
  • The forecast includes slightly stronger personal income and employment but lower housing permits.
  • Concerns cited in the forecast include slow global and U.S. Economic Growth, weak labor productivity growth and uncertainty regarding fiscal and trade policy.
  • Washington state employment is up by 13,500 net new jobs in September and October.

According to an article in the Tacoma News Tribune, this additional tax revenue will contribute to a 2017-19 state budget that is expected to be more than $40 billion. David Schumacher, Director of the Governor’s Office of Financial Management, stated that this increase in revenue “always helps, but it doesn’t solve the huge problems we’re facing.” One of the biggest problems Schumacher referred to is the Washington state Supreme Court’s mandate to increase K-12 education spending (McCleary v. State of Washington). While there is current debate about the estimated cost of complying with McCleary, the most commonly cited estimate is approximately $3.5 billion, and in Schumacher’s opinion “there’s broad agreement that we’re that neighborhood.”

Governor Jay Inslee will use this revenue forecast and estimates for complying with McCleary when crafting his state budget proposal, which will be released in mid-December in advance of the 2017 legislative session. Stay tuned to the OPBlog for updates on the Governor’s budget proposal when it is released.

Yesterday, the Economic and Revenue Forecast Council (ERFC) released its September revenue forecast, which increased projected General Fund-State (GF-S) collections by $334 million for the current 2015-17 biennium and by $125 million for the upcoming 2017-19 biennium. As a reminder, there will be one more revenue forecast in November before Governor Inslee releases his proposed 2017-19 biennial budget in anticipation of the 2017 legislative session.

Here is a quick summary of the total projected GF-S revenue for each biennium:

  • $37.765 billion for the 2015-17 biennium, 12.2 percent more than 2013-15
  • $40.377 billion for the 2017-19 biennium, 6.9 percent more than 2015-17
  • $43.630 billion for the 2019-21 biennium, 8.1 percent more than 2017-19

Behind the numbers:

  • Revenue collections from June to September were $225 million higher than forecasted in June, but over half of that increase was attributed to several large (and one-time) audit-related payments of past-due taxes.
  • This forecast noted slightly stronger personal income and employment compared to the June forecast.
  • Strong retail sales, housing construction, and real estate excise tax (REET) collections continue to create positive revenue trends.
  • Risks to the revenue forecast include weak labor productivity and slow economic growth (both in the U.S. and globally).

Any excess revenue collected in the 2015-17 biennium will contribute to reserves (est. $1.8 Billion) that will be available to spend in the 2017-19 biennium, however, the state continues to face significant budgetary challenges in complying with the State Supreme Court’s orders to fully fund K-12 education.

Stay tuned to the OPBlog for updates on revenue forecasts and the upcoming 2017 legislative session.

On September 15, 2016, OPB submitted the UW’s 2017-19 state operating budget request to the Governor’s Office of Financial Management. The UW is mindful of the continuing budget challenges facing the state of Washington and, thus, has limited its budget requests to the 11 most essential and strategic state investments for the 2017-19 biennium. These, along with a variety of mandatory reports and forms that make up a biennial state budget submission, are available on our website at the following location:  2017-19 Operating Budget Request

Here is a brief summary of our requests:

Maintenance Level

  1. Maintenance & Operations: For the Intellectual House, Burke Museum, Computer Science & Engineering expansion and UW Tacoma Urban Solutions facilities.
  2. WWAMI Spokane Continuation: To continue the recent increase of 20 UW medical students in Spokane to years three and four of their education program. The existing biennial budget funds these students for years one and two of the program.
  3. Marijuana Research: For additional marijuana research funding that was authorized in legislation during the 2015-17 biennium.
  4. Occupational Health Internship Management: For one full‐time staff member to help meet accreditation needs in the Dept. of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences.

Performance Level

  1. Competitive Compensation and Retention: For 4 percent salary and benefit increases in FY18 and FY19 for faculty and professional staff. Separate decision packages will be submitted for employees covered under collective bargaining agreements.
  2. Maintenance & Operations: For the Nano Engineering & Science Building and the Life Sciences Building.
  3. WWAMI Spokane Expansion: To expand the UW’s medical student education program in Spokane by an additional 20 students per cohort, starting in FY 2018.
  4. Tri-Campus Student Success Initiative: To expand programs at all three campuses that improve access, retention, graduation and career preparation, with an emphasis on first generation, low-income, underrepresented minority and transfer students—especially those in STEM fields.
  5. RIDE Expansion Bridge: To permit RIDE students to spend their second year of dental education in Spokane, rather than returning to Seattle. This program is in partnership with Eastern Washington University.
  6. High-Demand Enrollments: To expand instructional capacity and enrollment at all three campuses in high-demand fields, such as engineering, computer science, ocean engineering and cyber operations.
  7. Regenerative Medicine Institute: To support the Institute’s scientific cores, add new faculty, provide pilot grants to leverage federal research grants, support student research training and provide translational bridge awards to convert research breakthroughs into products with commercial potential.
  • Additional Attachment: A request for a transportation budget appropriation for a Washington State Research Vessel to be operated by the UW and used by local, state, federal and tribal agencies.

Please contact Jed Bradley or Becka Johnson Poppe if you have questions.

Last week, the Economic and Revenue Forecast Council (ERFC) released its June revenue forecast, which increased projected General Fund-State (GF-S) collections by $294 million for the current 2015-17 biennium and by $126 million for the upcoming 2017-19 biennium. This is an improvement over the February forecast, which had predicted slower revenue growth in both biennia (see our blog post here). As a reminder, there will be at least three more revenue forecasts between now and when the legislature sets the 2017-19 budget.

Here is a quick summary of the total projected GF-S revenue for each biennia:

  • $37.431 billion for the 2015-17 biennium, 11.2 percent more than 2013-15.
  • $40.252 billion for the 2017-19 biennium, 7.5 percent more than 2015-17.
  • $43.575 billion for the 2019-21 biennium, 8.3 percent more than 2017-19.

Behind the numbers:

  • The forecast attributed the increase to strong sales of large commercial properties and rising home prices.
  • Other positives included growth in housing permits and increases in inflation, which typically result in greater retail sales, business taxes, and property taxes.
  • Slight decreases in U.S. and Washington state personal income forecasts continue to have a negative effect on the revenue forecast.

According to a press release from the Governor’s Office of Financial Management, “With the latest forecast, the state is now projected to have nearly $1.5 billion in total reserves at the end of the current biennium and more than $1.4 billion at the end of the 2017–19 biennium. Those reserve figures, however, do not take into account the multibillion obligation the state faces in the next biennium to meet its constitutional obligation to fully fund basic education.”

As a result, state agencies, including the UW, have received instructions to severely limit requests for new programs or policy initiatives in their requests for state funding in the 2017-19 biennium.

Stay tuned to the OPBlog for updates on revenue forecasts.

The Lincoln Project, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences’ study of public research universities (PRUs), has recently come out with its fifth and final report, which examines the challenges facing PRUs and recommends strategies for addressing them. The recommendations are threefold:

  1. Address Financial Challenges:

The sharp reduction in state funding for PRUs—down 30 percent since the year 2000—has been particularly harmful because it has forced public universities to raise tuition. This directly affects access for low-income students—one of the key responsibilities of public higher education. For this reason, the authors highlight financial aid for low-income, in-state undergraduate students as the most important program that institutions can provide. The UW’s Husky Promise program, which provides free tuition to resident undergraduates with financial need, is an example of this type of financial aid.

To cope with diminished state funding, the report also recommends:

  • Regional alliances with other PRUs, allowing the schools to combine programs;
  • Focusing fundraising on unrestricted donations, allowing universities to put the money towards core educational programs;
  • State-led creation of PRU long-term funding plans, allowing universities to more securely plan for their future; and
  • Advocating for additional federal research support.
  1. Form Public-Private Partnerships:

In the authors’ view, there is a natural alliance between PRUs and businesses. PRUs are critical to the business community: they educate workers and provide research upon which businesses and corporations build their enterprises. Universities also rely on businesses for funding assistance and for employment opportunities for their graduates. The report recommends that businesses provide research funds, well-paid internships, scholarships, and other support mechanisms for universities and their students. Universities, in turn, should provide easier access to their research and actively work towards partnering with businesses. The UW has a variety of public-private partnerships, including its Global Innovation Exchange (GIX), a partnership with Microsoft and Tsinghua University in Beijing.

  1. Serve Students:
  • Simplify financial aid: Filling out a FAFSA is a complicated process which can impede access to higher education. Simplifying the loan application procedure would help ensure that a larger proportion of students who are interested in higher education get access to the funds they need to pursue their goals.
  • Track student performance: Thanks to improved data analysis tools, universities have an enhanced ability to help students graduate. The report highlights Georgia State University (GSU) as a particularly successful example. GSU uses an algorithm to pinpoint students at risk of failing or dropping out, enabling the university’s advising services to intervene on a one-to-one basis. According to the report, these interventions have increased graduation rates by 20 percent, reduced time to graduation, and eliminated graduation rate differences between racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic groups.
  • Improve transfer pathways: The report recommends that four-year institutions work with community colleges to simplify the transfer procedure. Doing so can make higher education more affordable and accessible and can help transfer students graduate with a four-year degree on time and with as little debt as possible.

Two overarching themes of the Lincoln Project’s report are partnerships and accessibility. Public universities will need both in order to continue fulfilling their dual missions of conducting top-level research and providing high-quality, affordable higher education.

On April 18, Governor Inslee signed the final compromise operating budget after vetoing several sections. One of the Governor’s vetoes reversed a plan to convert activities conducted by the Office of Financial Management (OFM) into a “central service.” As a result of the veto, the UW will no longer be billed approximately $2.03 million from tuition operating fee revenue to cover those services.

Our updated brief is here. Please contact Jed Bradley or Becka Johnson Poppe if you have any questions.

The rising costs of college are a popular subject for everyone from presidential candidates to media outlets. Parents and students blanche as published tuition prices climb ever higher. But the published price – often referred to as the “sticker price” for colleges – offers a misleading picture of the cost of higher education. OPB has updated our brief to reflect the newest available data on published price vs. net price. Highlights include:

  • Sector-wide data on increases in published price and net price for public and private four-year colleges
  • A description of how declining state investment in higher education has spurred tuition increases
  • A table of the top 25 research universities’ net price for resident undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid

Our updated brief is accessible here.

 

The 2016 Legislature concluded its business having passed supplemental operating and capital budgets before the scheduled close of the 30-day special session. Please see the OPB brief for a detailed overview of the final compromise budgets.

While the compromise operating budget includes $3.513 million in additional biennial funding to “true up” the tuition backfill associated with 2ESB 5954, the increase is partially offset by more than $2 million in new, ongoing, biennial charges for services provided by the Office of Financial Management.

The compromise capital budget does not include any changes for the UW.

Please contact Jed Bradley or Becka Johnson Poppe if you have any questions.

The House and Senate did not come to an agreement on a 2016 supplemental budget by the end of the 60-day regular session, which was slated to end March 10. Several news outlets reported the tense ending, which featured Governor Inslee vetoing 27 bills (see examples here, here, and here). The Governor convened a 30-day special session, which began immediately.

On Friday, leadership in the Senate Ways & Means Committee released a new proposal for a 2016 supplemental operating budget (PSSB 6667). Last month, OPB released a brief comparing the Governor’s proposal, House proposal, and the Senate’s original proposal. That brief outlines the major components of each budget.

Like the Senate’s original proposal, this offer proposes $3.513 million in additional biennial funding to “true up” the tuition backfill associated with 2ESB 5954. However, both Senate proposals would almost entirely negate this additional backfill funding by converting activities conducted by the Office of Financial Management (OFM) into a central service charged to state agencies. Over the biennium, the UW would be charged $1.252 million from its state general fund appropriation and $2.042 million from tuition operating fee revenue for these OFM central services, a total of $3.294 million.

This proposal differs from the original Senate proposal in that it: 

  • Does not cut WWAMI: The original proposal included a cut of $1.2 million
  • Does not fund a proviso for youth suicide prevention at UW’s Forefront: The original proposal allocated $97,000 in FY17 to fund 2SSB 6243, but that bill did not pass the House.
  • Shifts $18 million in cost savings from College Bound (CB) program to State Need Grant (SNG): The original proposal shifted only $14 million, effectively cutting SNG by $4.5 million.

During a press conference responding to this release, leadership in the House emphasized continuing negotiations toward a compromised budget and gave no indication that they would release a public budget offer.

Stay tuned to the OPBlog for updates on proposed budgets.

This week, leadership in the House and Senate released their respective supplemental operating and capital budget proposals for the current biennium (FY16 & FY17), which follow the December release of Governor Jay Inslee’s proposals. As a reminder, the House and Senate proposals will be amended before they pass their respective chambers.

Please see the OPB brief for a detailed comparison of the House, Senate and Governor’s supplemental operating and capital budget proposals.

Some highlights:

  • The budget released by the leadership in the Senate Ways & Means Committee would provide the most funding overall, largely because it includes additional funding for the resident undergraduate tuition reduction backfill associated with 2ESB 5954.
  • None of the three capital budgets provide additional funding for the UW beyond the original 2015-17 capital budget.

Legislators will have until March 10, the last day of session, to complete and pass a compromise budget.

See the table below for a quick comparison of the budget proposals:

BudgetComparison

 

 

Next Page →