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17-19 Biennial State Operating Budget Signed Into Law

Late Friday night, Governor Jay Inslee signed into law the 17-19 biennial compromise state operating budget (SSB 5883). Given the historic challenge in this session to fully fund basic education across the state of Washington, we’re proud that many of the legislative priorities of the University of Washington are reflected in the final budget. For detailed analysis of the budget, check out this brief published by the University’s Office of Planning and Budgeting.

Gov. Inslee signing the 17-19 biennial operating budget
Gov. Inslee signing the 17-19 biennial operating budget

Important investments of the final budget include:

Competitive Faculty/Staff Compensation

$13.1 million for general wage increases to partially fund three 2% increases (one in FY18 and two in FY19).

UW’s collective bargaining agreements are fully funded.

State Need Grant Expansion

$12 million is provided to expand SNG access to 900 additional eligible students across the state annually. $38 million is provided to adjust for resident undergraduate tuition increases for SNG recipients.

Funding High Demand Degrees

$2 million is included for the UW to increase resident undergraduate enrollment of students majoring in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).  The UW is expected to increase STEM enrollment by approximately 60 students.

WWAMI Continuation

$5 million in new funding is provided to continue WWAMI programming for 20 additional students in their third and fourth years in Spokane and eastern Washington, in partnership with Gonzaga University. This funding increases third and fourth year cohorts to 60 students.

Sustainable Tuition Policy

The final budget maintains current policy and allows a 2.2% increase in FY18 and a 2.0% increase in FY19.

Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine Research

$4.5 million in funding is provided to the Institute for Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine (ISCRM) for faculty, core support, training programs, pilot grants, and Translational Bridge Awards.

Worker Safety Outreach and Research

The final budget restored $6 million in proposed cuts to UW’s Department of Environment and Occupational Health Sciences (DEOHS), which coordinates research, training, teaching, and consulting to prevent workplace related diseases and injuries in Washington state.

Special Olympics

$3.2 million in one-time funding is provided to help cover the UW’s costs associated with the 2018 Special Olympics USA games being held in Seattle in July 2018.

Passage of LET Tax Credit Legislation

Legislation passed on Friday, June 30 that will reinstate the leasehold excise tax (LET) credit for UW’s Metro Tract property beginning in 2022, which will increase revenues by approximately $2 million per year.

Despite making significant progress in a challenging session, we are concerned about the following items that are included in the final budget:

OFM Central Service Charge

The legislature passed along a charge for Office of Financial Management (OFM) central services, which means the UW will have to use $3 million in student tuition revenue to support OFM instead of the University’s academic mission

Tuition Wavier Authority

The budget reduces the UW’s state funding allocation by $2.59 million over the biennium, which is assumed to be offset by the UW reducing overall tuition waiver activity for graduate students, excluding veteran-related waivers

Now that the operating budget has been finalized, we’ll continue to work with members on our capital budget priorities. In the meantime, the Legislature recently passed PSSB 5965 also known as a capital reappropriations for the 2017-2019 fiscal biennium. This will fund ongoing capital projects from the previous biennium to ensure continuation of contracts and construction.

We’ll keep you posted on highlights of the final capital budget which is expected to be completed in the coming weeks.

Last, but certainly not least, the Office of State Relations would like to express our appreciation to President Ana Mari Cauce, the Board of Regents, the Office of Planning and Budgeting (OPB), UW Impact, UW Faculty Senate, our Tacoma and Bothell campuses, the Associated Students of the University of Washington (ASUW), Graduate & Professional Student Senate (GPSS), and other faculty, students, and alumni who helped make the 2017 legislative session a success. Thank you for your advocacy and support!

To keep up with the latest from Olympia, follow us on Facebook and Twitter. If you have any questions about state topics, please call 206-543-7604.