Governor signs budget, few vetoes

Yesterday the governor signed the budget that required a regular, special, and seven hours of a second special session to create.  There were no unpleasant surprises for CWU and just a handful that affect higher education.

The short version is this: she vetoed the authority of Bellevue College to offer bachelor’s degrees, the direction to OFM to find IT “savings” at state agencies, and a change in across-the-board budget cuts methodology for the governor.

Here’s what the veto messages said. Happy reading!

Linda

Section 601(7), page 200, State Board for Community and Technical Colleges, Bellevue College Baccalaureate Degrees
Bellevue College would be temporarily authorized through this budget proviso to offer
baccalaureate degrees, rather than applied baccalaureate degrees as currently authorized. The current applied baccalaureate pilot program at Bellevue College and other participating institutions shows promise. While expansion of baccalaureate degree programs into the state’s community and technical college system may ultimately prove to be sound public policy, such authorization through a budget proviso is the wrong approach. The Legislature endorsed the System Design Plan in 2010 for the purpose of establishing a process for the expansion of new programs and degrees where there is demand and to ensure financial sustainability. This important planning process cannot succeed if independent authorization is given in a budget proviso. Moreover, it is unlikely that implementation of degree programs on a new campus can
be completed by June 30, 2013, when the authority in this subsection will expire. For these reasons, I have vetoed Section 601(7).

Section 714, pages 232-233, Office of Financial Management, Fiscal Year 2013 Information Technology Savings
Section 714 directs the Office of Financial Management to identify information technology (IT) savings and to reduce state agency allotments by $10 million in all funds. The 2011-13 budget already includes another $60 million in central service reductions, as well as administrative cuts in multiple agencies and the expectation that agencies will under-spend their revised budgets by $120 million of reversions. While the state will continue to pursue savings in IT and other back office functions, we have to be realistic about the detrimental effect of random reduction targets. At some point, agencies will not be able to deliver expected services even with increased productivity. So, enough is enough. For this reason, I have vetoed Section 714.

Section 919, pages 253-257, Office of the Governor, Across-the-Board Reductions
Existing law gives the Governor authority to impose across-the-board spending reductions when a cash deficit is projected in a particular fund. To prevent the necessity of a special session if revenues decline, I asked the Legislature for more flexibility in the event there was a need to reduce State General Fund expenditure authority. However, this language actually reduces executive flexibility by mandating that all provisoed amounts be reduced by the same percentage as separate appropriations. While agencies must respect legislative priorities when implementing across-the-board reductions, mandating the preservation of provisoed funds over core services is the wrong approach. For these reasons, I have vetoed Section 919.

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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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