Office of Planning & Budgeting

May 6, 2019

Legislature Passes 2019-21 Biennial Operating and Capital Budgets

On Sunday, April 28, leadership in the legislature reached a compromise on the state’s 2019-21 biennial operating and capital budgets. The Governor is expected to approve these budgets, but has line-item veto power. As part of the compromise budget package, the legislature passed HB 2158, which creates a dedicated source of funding for higher education through an increase to Business and Occupation (B&O) taxes on professional services.

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

The outcomes of the state operating budget will be incorporated into the UW’s Fiscal Year 2020 (FY20) operating budget, which will be presented to the Board of Regents as an information item in May and as an action item in June.

Operating Budget

Some noteworthy items in the final operating budget include:

  • Competitive Compensation and Foundational Support: The UW’s highest operating budget priority for the 2019 legislative session was funding to provide competitive compensation to recruit and retain valued faculty and staff. HB 2158 provides $25 million over the biennium in “foundational support” to increase the share of state funding for new compensation and central services in 2019-21. The amounts are also sufficient to make permanent the one-time compensation funding provided last year.
  • STEM Enrollments: HB 2158 also includes funding for STEM investments at the UW, including increasing high-demand enrollments across all three campuses and maintaining the Washington State Academic RedShirt (STARS) program.
  • Financial Aid: The compromise budget package will increase funding for the State Need Grant, which was re-named the “Washington College Grant” under HB 2158. The new funding will reduce the program’s current waitlist by one-third in FY20 and will fully eliminate the waitlist in FY21. Starting in FY21, the program’s income eligibility threshold will be expanded to include students with a household income of up to 100 percent of the state’s median family income.
  • UW Hospitals and the School of Dentistry: The compromise budget includes additional funding to UW Medical Center, Harborview Medical Center, and the School of Dentistry to support their role in providing safety-net care for the state. The budget also provides B&O tax parity for Harborview.

Capital Budget

The compromise capital budget appropriates $167.7 million in new state funding, $94.3 million from the UW Building Account, and $1.8 million from the Model Toxics Control Account. The final capital budget provides significant new state funding for capital projects seeking to advance state and University priorities, including STEM, behavioral and mental health, and health sciences education.

Overall, the final budget fully funds multiple UW requests and provides a substantial amount of new funding for key projects that will benefit both the UW and Washington state as a whole.

Stay tuned to the OPBlog for more updates!