This morning Governor Gregoire released her 2011-13 budget. In her message on the 2011-13 budget she stated “the budget I am proposing for the 2011-13 biennium is not a budget I ever expected to see in the State of Washington, and the choices in it are the most difficult ones I’ve ever faced.”
The Governor’s proposed biennial budget addresses the assumed budget shortfall in 2011-13 by reducing state programs and services by $3 billion and allowing for $1.1 billion in savings by suspending Initiatives 728 and 732. The balance of the solution is achieved through pension reforms, fund transfers and use of the state’s rainy day fund.
The Governor’s proposed biennial budget proposal for higher education includes:
- Reductions in funding for higher education by $344.7 million.
- Differential tuition increases for colleges and universities
UW/WSU/WWU – 11%
Evergreen/CWU/EWU – 9%
Community and Technical Colleges – 10%
- Maintenance funding for the State Need Grant
- Reductions in funding for State Work Study by over 30%
- Suspension of all other state financial aid programs are suspended for new recipients. Current student recipients of these grants are held harmless in the proposal
- The creation of the Baccalaureate Incentive Program for the public, four-year institutions to boost performance and provides $5 million to fund this program.
Other areas of state government were also dramatically impacted by the Governor’s proposed biennial budget.
- The Basic Health Plan is eliminated.
- The Disability Lifeline grant is eliminated.
- The Student Achievement Program under Initiative 728 that provides smaller class sizes, extended learning time for students and professional development for teachers is suspended.
- Employee salary increases under Initiative 732 for K-12 and higher education teachers and other employees are suspended.
- K-4 class-size reduction funds are eliminated.
- Compensation for state employees is reduced by 3%.
- All state general funds are eliminated for state parks.
- McNeil Island Corrections Center is closed.
Finally, other key aspects of the governor’s proposal include:
- The requirement that government services that benefit a relatively small number of people and businesses, such as processing permit applications, be paid for by the beneficiary and not the general public.
- The requirement state agencies to deliver important state services at a lower cost. This may necessitate charging higher fees to visit state parks, obtain fishing and hunting licenses, process water rights applications and license adult family homes.
The Washington Legislature will convene on January 10, 2011 to begin the next step in the development of the 2011-13 biennial budget.