State Relations

April 21, 2007

Final Operating Budget Released — Best in Almost 20 Years

The final legislative operating budget was released today at noon.  For the University, the budget ended up almost precisely where is began almost four months ago.  State appropriations of $105 million represent the largest percentage increase in taxpayer support for the UW since the 1987-89 biennium. Together with revenue from tuition and other fees, the…

Final Capital Budget Released — New Campus for UW

The conference report on the 2007-09 capital budget was released last night around 9:30 p.m.  Funding for UW projects was identical to the Governor and Senate budgets with more than $143 million in new state support making this the best overall capital budget for the University in a decade.  A detailed summary of the capital…

April 20, 2007

Warm Weather + Sunny Skies = Sine Die?

As if on cue, the weather has turned remarkably beautiful this afternoon and that generally means that the end of session is right around the corner.  “Sine Die” is Latin for “without day” and is used to refer to legislative bodies whose terms are coming to an end.  For the 2007 Washington State Legislature, that means midnight (or…

April 19, 2007

Budget Train Beginning to Roll

The pace of budget negotiations in Olympia noticeably quickened yesterday.  When House and Senate fiscal leaders walk frequently together between chambers, experienced observers know that discussions on the budget are getting down to the final last few items.  Yesterday’s persistent rumor was that the capital budget was finished and that the operating budget could be ready…

April 18, 2007

Does a Watched Budget Ever Pass?

When you are on the outside looking into the state budget negotiations, the anticipation of what the final product will look like can be pretty frustrating.  I’ve been gone from legislative staff for more than three years now, and I can truthfully say the only part of the process that I still really miss are the final…

April 17, 2007

Rainy Day Fund Clears Key Committee

Like many of you, I was very distracted yesterday watching the television reports of the campus shootings at Virginia Tech University.  It was hard to focus on the comparatively mundane matters of Olympia when faced with a tragedy of such magnitude. Nevertheless, there were important developments yesterday that are worth mentioning and that will have implications on the…

April 13, 2007

Transportation Policy Takes Center Stage

I don’t have much to report on the status of operating budget negotiations.  Members are making progress, but many big issues remain unresolved, including some major higher education spending items. To insure I won’t be bored or restless, the “legislative gods” have kept me busy over the past 72 hours working on issues related to the State Route 520 bridge…

April 10, 2007

Governor Signs UW Debt Authority Bill — UW Tacoma Legislation Passes Senate

This morning Governor Gregoire signed SHB 1398 which expands the UW and WSU’s ability to issue debt backed by locally controlled revenues.  This expanded statutory authority is key to the long-term financing of the UW Tower and future University capital projects. This evening, the state Senate passed SHB 2164 which would help to curtail unwelcome…

Answers to Trivia Questions

1.  The other three Walla Walla towns are in Australia. 2.  Kurt Russell. 3.  Boone “Boom Boom” Kirkman. 4.  Columbia Basin Community College in Pasco. 5.  The Ventures.

April 9, 2007

Fun with Washington State Trivia

While we sit and wait for more conference action on the state budget, let’s have some fun with a little Washington State trivia.  In my spare time, in addition to co-hosting a local radio show with my friend Steve McLellan, we also write trivia questions for TVW — the state’s public affairs channel.  They run the trivia questions during…

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