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Governor releases 2023-25 biennial budget proposals with substantial UW investments

The 2023 legislative session begins Jan. 9 and for the first time since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, legislators will meet in person in Olympia to decide the state’s biennial budget and policy. This week, Gov. Jay Inslee unveiled his 2023-25 operating and capital budget proposals, as the first step in the state budget process.

The Governor’s proposed operating budget prioritizes addressing the state’s homelessness and housing crisis, improvements to the behavioral health system, and climate action. His proposal dedicates $4 billion over the next six years to increase the supply of affordable housing across the state, including higher density development along transportation corridors. To expand access to behavioral health care, the Governor proposes increasing treatment bed capacity, providing additional services for children and youth, growing the workforce, and improving provider rates. Finally, his climate package devotes funding to improving siting and permitting for clean energy and transmission, helping the salmon recover and thrive, and mobilizing a future clean energy workforce.

The Governor’s proposal also funded a majority of the University of Washington’s legislative priorities and a few additional items including:

  • $26.9M for salary increases of 4% in FY24 and 3% in FY25 nonrepresented faculty and staff with additional funds provided to improve the fund split to two-thirds state funding.
  • $6.4M for state approved CBAs for represented employees, including one-time payments for retention and COVID-19 boosters.
  • $100M in one-time funding in FY23 for UW Medicine to alleviate significant labor costs and sustain clinical operations at UWMC and Harborview so they can continue to serve as the state’s safety-net and health care workforce training hospitals.
  • $6.6M in one-time funding for the Behavioral Health Teaching Facility for physician and faculty support.
  • $10.6M to grow a local, more diverse STEM workforce pipeline at all three UW campuses:
    • $6M for the Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science & Engineering to add 100 annual graduates by FY27.
    • $1.7M for the UW Bothell School of Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics to develop a program modeled after STARS to support 75 pre-major students in accessing and graduating with computer science degrees.
    • $2.85M for the UW Tacoma School of Engineering & Technology to add 55 graduates in computer science and engineering by FY27.
  • $4.3M to expand the UW School of Dentistry RIDE program, which is located in Spokane and trains dentists to meet the needs of rural and underserved populations.
  • $10.3M in maintenance and operations (M&O) for UW Bothell’s STEM4 building, the UW Interdisciplinary Engineering Building, and the Behavioral Health Teaching Facility at UW Medical Center-Northwest.
  • Shifts M&O funds back to the state operating budget from the UW Building Account, allowing the UW to invest in critical building renewal and deferred maintenance.
  • $3M to develop a clean energy transformation strategy that transitions the Seattle campus energy infrastructure to 100% clean energy.
  • $520,000 for the Washington Ocean Acidification Center to advance high-priority science to better understand the relationships between marine organisms and ocean acidification.

The Governor’s capital budget also included significant support for the UW:

  • $58M for phase 2 of the Magnuson Health Sciences Center renovation and replacement. The Center is the primary teaching space for the UW’s six health science schools and new facilities will promote innovative, multidisciplinary learning.
  • $28.7M to design and renovate Anderson Hall, which was constructed in 1925 and has an antiquated learning environment that lacks adequate classroom and collaborative spaces for the School of Environmental and Forest Sciences.
  • $9M to design and construct phase 2 of wǝɫǝbʔaltxʷ – Intellectual House. wǝɫǝbʔaltxʷ is a learning and gathering place for the UW’s American Indian and Alaskan Native students, faculty, and staff and a center for sharing the knowledge of Northwest Indigenous peoples.
  • $5M to design the modernization of chemical sciences in Seattle. Built in 1937 and 1957, current facilities for chemistry, materials science, and chemical engineering do not meet the requirements for interdisciplinary, modern science education and research.
  • $13M for the behavioral health renovation of UW Medical Center-Northwest. This project provides an additional 25 90/180-day long term civil-commitment beds to help meet the state’s behavioral health care needs.

The Office of State Relations is thrilled to see the investments the Governor proposed for the University, which will help recruit and retain faculty and staff, provide immediate support to UW Medicine’s hospitals and staff, and expand opportunities and support services for students.

For additional details, see the Washington State Office of Financial Management’s budget highlights and the brief prepared by the UW Office of Planning & Budgeting on their Briefs page.