Regarding the House budget proposal released April 4
Shortly after noon today, the Washington State House of Representatives released its proposed budget for the next two years. The devil is in the detail and it will take us a day or two to fully understand that detail. Our current best analysis can be found here.
Earlier, I outlined implications of a cut of the magnitude the Governor proposed in a letter to legislative leadership. You may wish to review that letter. I characterized the implications as "untenable."
Untenable particularly for Western. This is because Western is badly underfunded – by $18M biennially when compared to the average of Eastern, Central, and Evergreen. The Governor's budget would make the historical inequity for Western even worse.
The House heard. While the cuts remain serious for Western and for public higher education, they are less serious for Western than would be the case under the Governor`s original proposal. This is because the House proposes to address a part of the historical underfunding of Western. And that means we can approach the additional cuts on a more equal footing with the other universities.
This is, then, for Western, a fair start on a tough situation.
We are waiting to next see the Senate budget. Current betting is that it will come out next Monday.
And because the two budget proposals are likely to be quite different, a compromise "conference budget" will then have to be agreed upon. That may take some time, weeks even.
The conference budget could be better, or worse than the House or Senate Budgets; last biennium it was actually worse than either.
While the situation is very serious, there is also evidence that people in Olympia are beginning to understand just how devastating more deep cuts could be to public higher education in Washington. This is thanks to you and so many others who have been actively engaged. Next week, armed with more specific facts and consequences, we will all need to redouble our efforts in the fight for Western and for the future of Washington State.