Olympia is buzzing this week on pension policy, budget forecasting, and higher ed governance. On Tuesday the Higher Education Steering Committee will meet. This group, including Pres. Gaudino, was appointed by the governor to craft the description of a replacement for the Higher Ed Coordinating Board. The group, down to just two more meetings, will consider the proposal of the chair–which happens to be the governor. Suffice to say that this proposal has a good chance of going the distance.
It creates a new agency that looks a lot like the HECB, but changes the overall mission of the agency to increasing the educational attainment of Washington residents and charges the entity with coordinating education from Kindergarten through grad school
Also on Tuesday, the legislature’s Select Committee on Pension Policy will meet to discuss (deep breath) the portability of defined contribution retirement plans. We’re trying to convince the committee that exempt employees should remain eligible for the higher education retirement plans and not be required to enroll in the retirement plan for public employees, PERS 3.
On Thursday, the Economic & Revenue Forecast Council will meet for a last look into the future before special session starts. On Nov. 4 the state’s chief economist, Arun Raha, reported an encouraging outlook–flat instead of down. Economic indicators are up slightly (GDP, consumer spending, industrial production), but Raha acknowledged must of Washington’s economic fate hinges on what happens far far away in Italy and Greece. Tune in and hear for yourself on http://www.tvw.org, Thursday at 10 a.m.