Senate budget boosts tuition $14% to offset cuts

This evening the state Senate Republicans and Democrats released a proposed budget for the next two years. You can submerge yourself in budget details at http://leap.leg.wa.gov/leap/budget/detail/2011/so1113p.asp.

The bottom-line cut of the proposal–tuition increases combined with cuts–is not as deep as the House but deeper than the governor’s plan. The Senate lands the middle ground by off-setting the deepest cuts of all budgets with the greatest tuition increase.

The Senate proposes 14% tuition increases in each year of the biennium and an across-the-board cut of about $25 million (according to my addition, which I’m counting on Shelly and Ed to correct).

The budget plan assumes an across-the-board cut in wages of 3 percent, which the Senate calculates as $3.55 million. The compensation reductions also include a cut of about a million dollars via temporary layoffs for people who make $50,000 per year or more and spells out layoffs in four categories:

1. people who make $50,000 per year but less than $75,000 per year, must take 16 hours of leave without pay per fiscal year

2. at least $75,000 per year but less than $100,000 per year, 32 hours per fiscal year;

3. at least $100,000 per year but less than $125,000 per year, 48 hours per fiscal year;

4. $125,000 per year or more, 64 hours per fiscal year.

This budget also assumes increased health care contributions for state employees, from 12 to 15 percent.

Now the good news.

The Senate Capital budget includes full funding for CWUs top two capital budget priorities:

1.) Science Phase II: $2 million for design with an assumption of $76 million in future biennia

2.) Samuelson Communication & Technology Center: $30 million in design and renovation with another $30 million for construction in future biennia.

Nice work FMD staff and government relations staff and science faculty!

More details and corrections tomorrow. Next step, try to hang on to the best alternatives for CWU through the next couple of weeks while the House, Senate, and governor try to merge their respective budget proposals into a single budget.

Today I was pleased to brief classified employees about the status of legislation and promised to try to line up salary proposals of the three budgets so people can compare them. I’ll do that soon as I can!

 

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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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