Office of Planning & Budgeting

April 4, 2019

House and Senate Proposed 2019-21 Biennial Operating and Capital Budgets

Last week, leadership in the House and Senate released their 2019-21 state biennial operating and capital budget proposals.

The House Appropriations committee released their initial operating and capital budget proposals on March 25. The Senate Ways & Means committee released their capital budget proposal on March 27 and their operating budget proposal on March 29. As a reminder, Governor Jay Inslee released his proposals in December.

For a detailed analysis and comparison of the proposals, see OPB’s newest brief on this page.

Operating Budget

Some noteworthy items in the operating budget proposals include:

  • Competitive Compensation and Foundational Support: The UW’s highest operating budget priority for the 2019 legislative session is funding to provide competitive compensation to recruit and retain valued faculty and staff. Importantly, all budget proposals released thus far include funding to improve the UW’s share of state support for these critical new expenses. The Governor’s proposal and the original proposal from the Senate would provide sufficient funding to make permanent the temporary funding provided in the current biennium to increase the share of state support and, generally, those proposals get the closest to what is needed for this purpose in the upcoming biennium.
  • STEM Enrollments: The House operating budget would make significant investments in STEM enrollments, which would be funded by increasing Business & Occupation (B&O) taxes through House Bill 2158.
  • UW Medicine and the School of Dentistry: The House budget would make targeted investments supporting UW Hospitals and the School of Dentistry.
  • Financial Aid: All three proposals make significant strides towards fulfilling the 2018 legislature’s commitment to fully fund the State Need Grant.

The House and Senate operating budget proposals assume revenue projections provided in the March revenue forecast from the Economic and Revenue Forecast Council. All three operating budget proposals rely on significant new revenue from these forecasts as well as new revenue proposals. This includes increasing B&O taxes on professional services, instituting capital gains taxes, and/or increasing real estate excise taxes.

Capital Budget

The House’s capital budget would appropriate almost $167.7 million in new state funding for capital projects, along with $94.3 million from the UW Building Account and $1 million from the State Toxics Control Account. The Senate’s capital budget would appropriate almost $135 million in new state funding, $92.3 million from the UW Building Account, $1.8 million from the Model Toxics Control Account, and $1 million from the Community Behavioral Health Account. Governor Inslee’s capital budget proposed $72 million, $88.3 million, and $1 million, respectively.

Overall, the House and Senate proposals would fully fund multiple UW requests, but differ in their proposed funding mechanisms, amounts, and priorities. Both budgets would over-utilize the UW Building Account while providing significant new investments through state funds.

Stay tuned to the OPBlog for more updates as the proposed budgets move forward.


Note: The information in this post and the brief cover legislative versions as of April 1. For operating budget proposals, this means the House proposal after committee and floor amendments and the Senate proposal as originally proposed by the Senate Ways & Means chair. For capital budget proposals, the brief covers the House proposal with committee amendments and the Senate proposal as originally proposed by the Senate Ways & Means chair. Changes to the brief to reflect committee and floor changes in the Senate will be forthcoming.