State Relations

March 30, 2016

That’s a wrap! 2016 session adjourned

On day 20 of the special session, just before 11:00 p.m., the legislature adjourned sine die, after passing compromise operating and capital budgets earlier in the day.

Over the past two-plus weeks, budget negotiators worked through a number of outstanding revenue and spending issues, entertaining and then abandoning a number of different tools to generate small amounts of revenue.

In the end, the members didn’t reach consensus on any new revenue components, and so the final supplemental budget made very select new investments and swept other fund sources in order to make a 4-year budget outlook pencil following a grim February forecast.

The University of Washington was successful in bringing home its top priority – backfill for the tuition reduction adopted by the legislature in 2015. Throughout session, students, staff, alumni, regents, and leadership reinforced the same message, that backfilling the tuition cut was critical to preserving access to and the quality of education at the UW.

Aside from the tuition backfill, however, the budget brought little else to celebrate. Unfortunately, the backfill was offset in part by a decision to charge state agencies for administrative functions of the Office of Financial Management. And due to overall limited resources, no new investments came to rural dentistry or computer science, the UW’s other top priorities.

In all, it truly was a supplemental budget, and the table is now set for next session, when higher education priorities will face a steep challenge in maintaining and growing the commitment from the state to access, quality, and opportunity for all students.

For more information about how the supplemental budget affects the university, check out the Office of Planning & Budgeting Brief.


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