Senate and House begin talks to bridge budget gap through June

Last week the state Senate approved a supplemental budget, the correction to the 2009-11 biennial budget. Now the House, the Senate and the governor have proposed a plan to close a $600 million gap between now and June 30. The plans don’t match so the three entities are negotiating the differences. The agreement could come anytime between now and April–or May.

One big difference is that neither the House nor Senate proposals actually closes the budget deficit. The Senate cuts about $394; the House cuts a little less.

What about the 3-percent salary cut? All salary cuts are at the discussion phase now.The governor has proposed a 3-percent pay cut that has been negotiated with some unions and that she hopes to apply to most state employees. It would go into effect at the beginning of 2011-13 biennial budget on July 1.

The Senate has proposed a 3-percent salary cut for about 16,200 non-represented state employees that would go into effect in April, during the current budget period. The Senate cut appears not to include higher education employees at this time.

Week five features hearings on big bills, including the governor’s tuition proposal, state policy on hiring retired state employees,

Ann and Steve will discuss CWU’s budget and policy priorities with the following representatives:

Representatives Frockt, Armstrong, Haigh, Stanford, Probst, Billig, Carlyle, Hunt

Senators White and Nelson

Monday, February 7

House Higher Education will hold a work session on the governor’s proposed budget, including tuition-setting policy. The committee also will hear HB 1650, which changes State Need Grant eligibility provisions.

House Ways & Means will hear the following bills

HB 1083 – Addressing postretirement employment of members of the Washington state retirement systems.

HB 1262 – Addressing public employees’ annuities and retirement plans.

HB 1625 – Addressing the default investment option available to new members of the plan 3 retirement systems.

HB 1742 – Addressing the alternate early retirement provisions for new members in plan 2 and plan 3 of the public employees’ retirement system, the teachers’ retirement system, and the school employees’ retirement system.

Tuesday, February 8

House Education Appropriations & Oversight will hold a work session that includes an overview of baccalaureate institutions and work study student aid.

The House Capital Budget Committee will hear the following bills

HB 1754 – Regarding capital construction and building purposes at the University of Washington and Washington State University.

HB 1761 – Limiting private activity bond issues by out-of-state issuers.

The Higher Education & Workforce Development Committee will hear the following bills:

SB 5268 – Enacting the college efficiency and savings act.

SB 5442 – Requiring the development of accelerated baccalaureate programs at state colleges and universities.

SB 5483 – Regarding administrative consistency in student financial aid programs.

SB 5484 – Concerning the Higher Education Coordinating Board’s responsibilities with regard to health sciences and services authorities.

SB 5443 – Requiring the higher education coordinating board to develop a grant program to encourage training for students studying in the medical field to work with individuals with developmental disabilities.

Wednesday, February 9

The House Higher Education Committee will hear the following:

HB 1654 – Regarding tuition for excess credits at institutions of higher education.

HB 1795 – Enacting the higher education opportunity act.

Thursday, February 10

House Higher Education

HB 1808 – Creating the launch year program.

HB 1792 – Concerning the University Center of North Puget Sound.

HB 1522 – Regarding academic credit for prior learning.

HB 1666 – Implementing the higher education funding task force recommendations.

HB 1394 – Enacting the college efficiency and savings act.

HB 1451 – Eliminating the goal of global challenge state funding levels.

Friday, February 11

The Labor & Workforce Development Committee will hear HB 1760 – Requiring creation of a web-based application to match profiles of students and employers for internship opportunities.

The Higher Education & Workforce Development will hear the following bills:

SB 5569 – Addressing postretirement employment at institutions of higher education.

SB 5572 – Authorizing institutions of higher education to limit enrollment in the running start program.

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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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