State Relations

November 19, 2021

UW’s 2022 budget priorities shared during Committee Assembly Days

State legislators virtually convened this week for Committee Assembly Days to hold work sessions and plan for the 2022 legislative session beginning Jan. 10. Throughout the week, UW faculty and staff participated in a variety of hearings to share their expertise on topics including admissions, cannabis research, and the COVID-19 pandemic.

State revenue updates were given in the House and Senate fiscal committees with revenue collections exceeding expectations due to strong growth in the state’s biggest revenue drivers – sales tax, property tax, and business & occupation tax – as well as the Real Estate Excise Tax. The state also sees positive growth in employment, which is not yet back to pre-pandemic levels but is expected to remain robust through 2025. Increasing inflation is the top concern highlighted by revenue forecasters in Washington and across the nation. Inflation is expected to gradually decline after 2021 as supply chain and logistics issues are resolved but will remain top-of-mind in the coming months.

In the higher education committees, legislators received campus and COVID-19 updates from the state’s public four-year baccalaureate institutions, the community and technical colleges, and the Independent Colleges of Washington. They also heard from the Washington Student Achievement Council on financial aid expansion and completion and held work sessions on workforce and career navigators, credentialing, and innovative degree pathways.

During the week, the Office of State Relations had the opportunity to share the UW’s 2022 legislative priorities with elected officials and staff. Recognizing the state continues to face uncertainty due to the pandemic and the 2022 supplemental budget primarily applies fixes to the biennial budget, UW’s operating budget requests are limited, including:

  • $18.45M for salary adjustments for faculty and staff, who are not scheduled to receive wage increases in the current biennial budget and are critical to the continued success of students and the UW.
  • $2M to expand computer science and engineering degrees for underrepresented students by an additional 100 per year to meet high student and employer demand.
  • $505K to create two behavioral health pharmacy residencies housed at the new Behavioral Health Teaching Facility to address the state’s critical behavioral health patient and workforce needs. This request is in partnership with Washington State University, who is requesting additional funds for two pharmacy residents in Eastern Washington.
  • $800K for a three-year research program led by the Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation in Spokane focused on community health metrics to help proactively address health disparities in rural and tribal communities in Eastern Washington.
  • Maintenance and operation (M&O) funds for Milgard Hall at UW Tacoma, which expects occupancy in Winter 2022-23 instead of mid-2023.

These priorities were determined through an extensive process led by the Office of the President and Office of the Provost. The UW’s 2022 legislative agenda two-pager will be available shortly.

Gov. Jay Inslee kicks off the budget process and is expected to release his supplemental budget proposal in early to mid-December. The House and Senate will form their proposals and adopt a final budget during legislative session.