State Relations

Gov’s Veto Pen Does Not Spare Higher Ed or the UW

Governor Gregoire took action today on the 2008 supplemental budget.  As expected before signing the bill into law, she exercised her veto power to eliminate about $15 million in state general fund spending from the legislatively enacted budget, increasing the size of the state’s total budget reserves from $835 million to $850 million.  Few agencies were spared and the UW and higher education were definitely impacted.

For the University of Washington, the Governor vetoed $488,000 in new legislative budget enhancements.  These include:

  • $88,000 for one additional mental health counselor position (the Governor vetoed similar funding in all public baccalaureate institutional budgets).
  • $200,000 for a study of the low dissolved oxygen content in Hood Canal.
  • $135,000 for undergraduate and graduate fellowships in overseas trade offices.
  • $65,000 for the state climatologist.

Other UW operating budget items – including $1 million for the new eScience Institute — were spared the budget axe.

In a somewhat surprising move, the Governor vetoed $1 million in new funding for additional childcare funding for students in the two-year and four-year institutions which was the top 2008 legislative priority for the Washington Student Lobby.  The funds were split evenly between the Higher Education Coordinating Board and the State Board for Community and Technical Colleges.

As of this evening, details on the Governor’s vetoes in the supplemental capital budget were not yet available.  Hope to have those summarized tomorrow.