Dear Faculty and Staff:
With the Legislature now in its second special session trying to come to an agreement on a state budget for 2013-15, a number of questions are being raised about the unlikely—though theoretically possible—situation that the state could begin the new biennium on July 1 without a budget and without monies appropriated to spend on various programs. Such a circumstance would be unprecedented. I understand in the early 1990s it took until late June for the Legislature to adopt a budget and that was as close to the start of a new biennium as it had ever come.
At this point, there are more questions than answers, and we do not yet have clear direction or information from the state Office of Financial Management about impacts to the University absent an approved budget. I can tell you that the Governor and his administration are looking into this, with assistance from the State Attorney General’s office. We, along with other state agencies, have been asked for information about our programs, including those funded by state appropriations and those mandated either by federal or state law. State-funded programs comprise only about three percent of our total budget, albeit a crucial and important three percent. It is our expectation that programs funded from other sources, such as federal funds, tuition, or self-sustaining revenues will not be affected by what is occurring with regard to state appropriations. We believe summer quarter will not be impacted, and instructional programs and classes will start as scheduled June 24. Our deans and vice presidents are working closely with our Office of Planning and Budgeting to ensure that we are prepared both to move quickly if a state budget is adopted prior to July 1 and to manage any contingencies should legislators not make the deadline. More information should be available to us in the coming weeks.
It is everyone’s hope—and expectation—that the Legislature will adopt a budget and not force the state into uncharted waters regarding its financing. As the state formulates answers and contingency plans in the eventuality of reaching July 1 without a budget, we will keep you informed. At this point, we continue to encourage legislators to complete their work on the budget by June 30 and are in close touch with officials in Olympia.
Michael K. Young