State Budget Deliberations and Our Budget Schedule
The delay in the state budget process has claimed its first casualty here at Western: our timeline for the posting of proposals for additional WWU budget reductions for 2010-11. I am writing to explain why.
An enormous amount of preparatory work has been done as people worked, across campus, on a bottom up process. And, many have been involved in preparing a “user friendly” set of web pages that will meet the needs of people with varying needs for (and tolerance for) all the details. And, that will, to the extent possible, cogently convey underlying rationales.
However, all budgeting efforts have focused on guesses – informed guess but guesses none the less – regarding what the budget cut will be. Nothing is certain until both houses of the Legislature act on a bill that the Governor then signs.
We certainly didn’t anticipate the extra time it is taking in Olympia for a budget to be finalized. However, it may well be that the delay in the budget process is partially a result of the intense and unceasing efforts of so many to keep outcomes as least damaging as possible. So, you can appreciate, we really cannot credibly be posting possible budgets cuts until we know what the cut actually is.
Once we have firm numbers from Olympia, we will replace guesses with the actual numbers and the web pages will go live. That, we expect, will be soon – likely, middle of this week.
And, let me share an opinion on the efforts down in Olympia. Our elected leaders have been taking heat for going into an extended session. Your mileage may well differ but please consider this: Precisely because of the damage that a slash-and-burn approach to budgeting would cause, our elected officials have been struggling, primarily, on the revenue side, to come up with something our State and its future could tolerate. The result: agreement on additional revenue.
With an election looming, that takes political courage. And, again, nothing is certain but, because of those efforts, I expect we will find that such critical items as the State Need Grant (so important to our students from lower income families) will be funded.
As always, thank you for your patience. Our process will resume soon. Important decisions remain. And, I trust you will stay involved with them.