Senate Majority Caucus Releases Gloomy Operating Budget Plan

The Senate Majority caucus yesterday at noon released a plan for the next two fiscal years.  Alas, it appears to contain more bad news than good, but, like the Inslee proposal, there is much that is murky.

Here’s what we think we know. The Senate proposes “only” a cut of about $500,000 for “administrative efficiencies” and assumes no tuition increase. A 20% surcharge system-wide on international students generates a pot of money that the Senate would redistribute to “restore core academic functions.”  Imagine, if you can, the consternation of institutions that boast significant international populations, whereas CWU welcomes just over 300 this spring.

The Senate budget assumes classified collective bargaining agreements will be funded out of “maintenance-level funds” (a real cut of about $82,000) and asks employees to pay more for health care, including smokers, who will be pinged $25 more a month. Low-income, part-time employees would be moved to “Obamacare” under this plan.

Not included in the budget proposal but part of the promotional materials for the budget is an assumption that tuition revenue will be cut 3%, or about $4 million over the next two years. Here is a link to the TVW coverage of the proposal, including links to the actual bill, promotional materials, and video of the news conference.

The Senate did not release a capital budget proposal. The Senate Republicans have long been on the record as trying to reduce the bond debt associated with the capital budget. But they also may be waiting to collect votes on the operating budget before making any promises in the construction budget.

We’re looking forward to seeing what the House Majority has to offer, probably middle of next week.  Below is a summary of the budgets that we have seen so far.

GREGOIRE

INSLEE

SENATE

Proposed

 With Policy Change

MAINTENANCE LEVEL

$6.38

$5.797

$5.918

-

  • Administrative Efficiencies

 

$0

$0

($516,000)

-

COLLECTIVE BARGAINING AGREEMENTS

$82,000

$?

($82,000)

-

TUITION

Tuition Rate Change

0%, 0%

3%, 3%

0%, 0%

-3%, 0%

  • RUG Tuition

$0

$4.411

$0

($4.164)

*SB 5883

  • 20% surcharge on international students (assumes 40% HC drop)

$0

$0

$0

(est. $2.3)

**SB 5893

 

OTHER

  • “Restore Core Academic Functions

$0

$0

$3.878

-

  • Performance Funding

$

$0

$0 

-

  • STEM Enrollment Pool

(Competitive)

$11

$11

$0

-

Health insurance

$308,000

($287,000)

(? cost shift to employees; low-income employees shifted to federal insurance)

-

NET GAIN

$6.77

$9.904

$9.280

$5.832

(Without surcharge)

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About Linda Schactler

Linda is the former Director of Communications for the Washington State Senate, and former deputy director of the Washington State Higher Education Coordinating Board. From 2000 through 2010 Linda was the proprietor of Schactler Communications, an Olympia-based public affairs business. She holds a master of arts in English literature from Washington University in St. Louis. Linda can be reached at her Ellensburg office schactler@cwu.edu, 509-963-1384, or on her cell phone, 509-607-4103.
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One Response to Senate Majority Caucus Releases Gloomy Operating Budget Plan

  1. Truth says:

    By the way it is called the “The Affordable Care Act” Not Obama care. I guess we can call the “Iraq war” the “Bush War” Since most of this budget mess was under Bush!

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