Legislature heads for adjournment…Weds maybe?

The House has sent a $479-million down payment on the state budget deficit to the Senate. If the Senate can pass the budget deal tomorrow, the legislature will get home for Christmas. When they return to Olympia in January they’ll have to finish the job by bridging what’s left over–a budget gap of $2 billion.

The nearly half-billion dollar deal in House Bill 2058 sounds brutal–and it is. But less than half of the reduction comes in actual cuts. Here’s how it looks:

  • $50 million from converting unclaimed property more quickly, a function of y the Dept. of Revenue.  Quick! Go to http://ucp.dor.wa.gov/ and see if any of it belongs to you! (I am not making this up.)
  • $38 million is new federal revenue for welfare assistance
  • $23 million saved by putting off for three years a new law that would expand the involuntary commitment and retention of people with mental illness (requiring more services and more money)
  • $82 million is money unspent as of June 30 and carried into the new budget period.
  • $97 million in savings come from assuming fewer people will need state services (a reduction in “caseload”)

That leaves the big budget cuts. Nothing significant in there yet for higher ed.  Some of the bigger cuts are a half million cut to the state library system (on-library services and the Walla Walla penitentiary library); cuts to TVW and the Puget Sound Partnership; and putting off a $50 million school bus depreciation payment until 2013.

More budget news tomorrow.

Meantime – What happened to our bond payment cash? Earlier today it was still where US Bank left it, in a CWU account.

 

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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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