State Relations

House Democrats Unveil Budget — Strong Proposal for UW

Almost three months to the day Governor Gregoire released her budget recommendations for the 2007-09 biennium, House Democrats in Olympia unveiled their operating budget blueprint for the next two years.  As was the case with the Governor’s proposal, the House budget places a high priority on funding for higher education and overall, represents a very strong budget for the University of Washington.

New general fund appropriations of $77.6 million combined with $42.9 million from the Education Legacy Trust Account and an estimated $80.5 million in total net tuition revenue (assumes 5% for resident undergraduates and 7% for all other) provides a total of $200.9 million in new operating budget resources for the UW in the 2007-09 biennium.

With this level of funding, we estimate the House Democrats 2007-09 budget (like the Governor’s budget) is “on-track” to close the UW’s per student funding gap to the 50th percentile of Global Challenge State institutions within 7 years and to the 60th percentile within 8 years.

Compensation:  $53.8 million is provided for compensation funding.  This amount includes funds to implement all negotiated collective bargaining agreements.  In addition, funds are provided to insure at least a 3.2% and 2.0% cost of living adjustment over the new two years for faculty and other non-represented professional staff, effective September 1 of each fiscal year.  Funds are also included for employee health insurance benefit changes.

Enrollments:  $23.6 million is provided for 1,630 new enrollments during the next two academic years.  This includes 500 new undergraduate enrollments (250 per year) for math, science, engineering and other high demand fields; 210 new graduate enrollments (105 per year); 920 new general undergraduate enrollments (460 per year).  The UW may allocate the enrollments at either the Seattle, Bothell or Tacoma campuses.

Research: $10.1 million is provided in new funding for research initiatives.  This includes $6.3 million for the Department of Global Health; $3.3 million to support operations and maintenance of the new Benjamin Hall Interdisciplinary Research Building; and $500,000 to enhance the University technology transfer “gap fund” used to help commercialize research discoveries.

WWAMI/RIDE: $3.5 million is provided in the UW operating budget for the medical and dental school expansion in Spokane.  This is $1 million less than requested by the University and included in the Governor’s Budget.

2% UG Resident Tuition Backfill:  The House budget limits tuition increases for resident undergraduate students to 5% per year in the next biennium.  However, additional general fund appropriations are provided to insure the UW receives the total amount of funding which would have been generated by a 7% per year tuition increase for resident undergraduates.

Burke Museum:  $1.5 million is provided to the Burke Museum to create new travelling kits, exhibits, and programs for schools, local museums, tribes and community centers.

SOM Family Practice Residency Program: $1 million is provided to establish a family practice residency program in SE Washington to be associated with the UW medicine residency network.

Partners for Our Children:  The House 2007 Supplemental Budget includes $1 million one-time funding to the DSHS Division of Children and Family Services to assist with the establishment of a “best practices” center at the UW School of Social Work to research factors affecting the well being of foster children.

William Ruckelshaus Center:  $225,000 is included in the UW budget (and an additional $225,000 in the WSU budget) to provide permanent funding for the Ruckelshaus Center(policy consensus center).  In addition, $500,000 is included in the budget for the Office of Financial Management to contract with the Ruckelshaus center for an Agricultural Pilot Project and $50,000 is provided in the 2007 supplemental budget proposal ($25,000 in UW and $25,000 in WSU) for a project related to land use and property rights.

Other Budget Items:  Other items included in the House proposal for the UW include $500,000 to improve retention rates for low income and first generation students; $340,000 to support the Washington Academy of Sciences; $497,000 to partially backfill reductions resulting from the state’s “Smart Buy” purchasing intiative; $168,000 for support of the UW State Climatologist; and $300,000 for the Institute for Learning and Brain Sciences.

Items Related to Legislation: Funding is included in the University’s budget related to several legislative measures passed by the House of Representatives. This includes $800,000 to implement 2SHB 2220 which directs the UW Sea Grant Program to review existing research on the potential effects of geoduck aquaculture on the environment; $108,000 to implement 2SHB 1242 which authorizes adult family homes to participate in a voluntary certification program through the UW Geriatric Education Center; and $15,000 to implement SHB 1394 which provides grants to School of Medicine faculty or students for research or training projects that focus on improving services to individuals with developmental disabilities.

Higher Education Studies:  The House budget provides funding to conduct three major higher education studies.  Specifically, $200,000 is provided to the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Committee (JLARC) for a higher education cost study to determine the options, strategies, and elements to JLARC for a capital facility technology study which would compare 10-year enrollment projections with capital facility requirements and technology application and hardware capacity.  In addition, the Washington Institute for Public Policy is provided $200,000 to conduct a study to determine state policy options regarding the role of higher education institutions in developing and marketing intellectual property and potential state revenue opportunities.