February 23, 2010
Today, in Olympia, the House and the Senate publicly shared their proposed supplemental budgets for fiscal year 2010-11. Back in December, the Governor brought forward her proposed supplemental budget for the same period, and its serious implications for Western were described in an earlier message. While we are still a ways from having a final budget, we now can now triangulate with some increased precision.
Basically, in the Governor`s budget, working as she had to in December with the assumption of no new revenues, the total cut for higher education would be $90M. Today`s Senate proposal is almost exactly at the number. The House budget would cut higher education about $78M.
The details for Western parallel those overall numbers. Under the Governor`s budget, the permanent additional cut to our 2010-11 base budget would be $3.8M. The Senate budget would have the same consequences. The cut for Western would be $2.3M in the House budget.
A side-by-side comparison is now available here. Please understand that, in the interests of timely communication, we are getting this information to you immediately. But, budget documents are complex, and the original understandings contained in the side-by-side comparisons may be refined as we come to better understand the budget proposals.
As serious as the just-released Senate and House reductions would be, please recall that in January I wrote to you to share the perception that the situation was very, very fluid. Some scenarios were looking very much bleaker – more than twice what the Governor had proposed.
Many, at that time, would have bet that the Governor`s original proposal was a remote “best case” possibility. That it now looks “worst case” is testimony to the effectiveness of so many in communicating the importance of higher education and to the resultant increasing concern our elected representatives have about our need to maintain capabilities to build brighter futures for Washington.
In earlier messages, I described Western`s budget processes then underway. They continue as the campus prepares for open, transparent budget consideration. Those processes were predicated upon budget assumptions shared with planning unit leaders and that are consistent with where it looks like we may end up. The detailed strategic budget guidelines have been formally shared with planning unit leaders and are (or soon will be) up on the Budget and Planning Web site.
Briefly, on two other legislative matters related to the budget: 1) Both the House and the Senate proposals would fund the State Need Grant, and 2) Furloughs remain in play but are not certain. On the latter matter, we will, of course, share what we learn as there are further developments.
The House and the Senate proposals include complex combinations of provisions concerning budgets and assumptions concerning revenues and new revenue sources. Budget proposals and revenue measures must be passed and then reconciled. So, much uncertainty does still remain. As well as the urgent need to stay engaged.
It has been an arduous process to this point. And, much work remains before we have a budget for Western for 2010-11. Your patience is deeply appreciated. Your effectiveness in working for – fighting for – better futures for our state has and continues to be critical.