Governor Christine Gregoire signed the 2012 operating budget and a slew of other bills yesterday, May 2nd. The higher education sector, specifically Evergreen, received no cuts.
In a statement from State Senator Ed Murray, Chair of the Senate Ways and Means committee, “This is the first budget in four years to avoid cuts to Washington’s schools, colleges and universities. For families and students, that is great news. After the deep cuts of the past few years, I and many of my colleagues are pleased to have protected education and important services for Washingtonians who are sick, hungry or disabled…”
Governor Gregoire did veto several sections of the bill, including Section 601(7) which allowed Bellevue College to begin offering baccalaureate degrees. Currently Bellevue is allowed to offer applied baccalaureate degrees. In her veto message, Gregoire noted that “while expansion of degree programs into the state’s community and technical college system may ultimately prove to be sound public policy, such authorization through a budget proviso is the wrong approach. The Legislature endorsed the System Design Plan in 2010 for the purpose of establishing a process for the expansion of new programs and degrees where there is demand and to ensure financial sustainability. This important planning process cannot succeed if independent authorization is given in a budget proviso.”
Another veto of interest includes Section 919 of the budget bill that deals with across-the board reductions. This section would have protected certain state agencies from across the board reductions if the Governor chose to do so in the event of continued revenue decline. In her veto message, Gregoire explained that the language reduces executive flexibility because all provisoed amounts would now need to be reduced by the same percentage as separate appropriations.
For a full list of her vetoes, click here.
As well as the budget bill, the Governor signed bills relating to roll your own cigarette dispensaries (HB 2565), developing a plan for full funding of basic education (HB 2824) and relating to local sales and use tax account deposits and distributions (HB 2822), among many others.
These were the final bills to be signed from the 2012 supplemental session.