Regarding the 2013-15 House Budget proposal
As noted when I described the Senate proposal, there is both good news and, also, possible areas of concern.
The House proposal has these features:
- Maintenance funding is provided. That is a positive step forward.
- Overall, and as the previously cited chart shows, the House budget, relative to both the Senate budget and Governor Inslee's proposal, provides substantially more support for Western's mission of serving Washington.
- To do so, the House proposal assumes Western resident undergraduate tuition will go up $375 next year and about $400 the year after.
- Potentially troubling for all six institutions is a budget proviso that would direct funds to specific purposes — not new funds but funds out of the steady state university funding levels that the House budget provides for. For Western, it would appear that $5,958,000 is to go to “expansion of engineering and computer science.” We and the other institutions are seeking clarification for this was unexpected and potentially highly problematic if not straightened out.
- There is new funding of $934,000 for one of Western’s Decision Packages, that having to do with Computer Science undergraduate expansion.
We still, of course, are a very long way from having a budget. Both the House and the Senate proposals have provisions involving sources of revenue and funding priorities that will be seriously challenged by the other house.
Major differences remain between the House and Senate proposals even as regards Western’s budget; these may take some time to resolve; and, there is no certainty that the final compromise budget will fall between bookends defined by the two proposals – final budget could be worse than either, could be better than either. Consequently and as I noted in my message to you last week, now is the time to stay most fully engaged.
We will be providing further details as they become available. Do not hesitate to direct any questions Linda Teater, Western's Budget Director. And, a special thanks to all who work extra-long hours to allow us to provide not only timely but accurate information.