In her last budget before leaving office, Gov. Chris Gregoire this week addressed the state’s nearly $1 billion budget deficit, and tackled a court mandate to fully fund basic education.
The Governor released both a “Book 1″ and a “Book 2″ budget.
The “Book 1” budget is required by law to be balanced within current revenues.
As the state is facing a $970 million budget shortfall in 2013-2015, the Governor’s Book 1 is an all cuts budget, and would cut spending in higher education by $52 Million.
The “Book 2” budget includes the Governor’s plans for addressing the state’s financial situation through a mix of spending cuts, savings, and revenue increases.
In keeping with the no new cuts to higher education budget she signed in 2011, Gov. Gregoire’s 2013-2015 “Book 2” budget would largely hold higher education harmless from cuts.
It also includes several targeted investments in STEM programs and financial aid:
- Creating a STEM enrollment pool ($11 million)
- Supporting UW College of Engineering ($1 million per year)
- Funding College Bound Scholarships ($35 million).
In terms of compensation, the budget restores the temporary, 3% salary reduction to state workers, but allocates those funds to implement the university’s collective bargaining agreements.
The budget does not assume new tuition increases, though the six public universities still have tuition-setting authority passed in 2011.
In sum, under the Governor’s “Book 2” budget, state appropriations for each of the state’s six public universities would increase slightly over the next two years.
Responding to the release of Gov. Gregoire’s budget, a spokesman for Gov.-Elect Jay Inslee’s transition team told the Tacoma News Tribune:
“In the upcoming legislative session, Governor-Elect Inslee will lay out his own budget priorities that reflect his vision for state government…”
Meanwhile, two top Republicans on budget-writing committees in the House and Senate told TVW the proposal may be useful as a reference point, but were cool to the idea of new revenues.
In the upcoming 105-day session, the State Legislature will review the new Governor’s proposals, develop its own, and propose new laws to fund it.
Stay tuned for more news & analysis, as we approach January 14, the first day of session!
Watch the Governor’s press conference on TVW.
Read the Governor’s press release announcing her budget.
Read the Governor’s Office policy briefs.