Today the Washington State House, in partnership with the Senate Democrats, released a proposed biennial operating budget for the 2013-15 biennium.
Overall the proposed budget addresses the state’s $2.6 billion budget problem through policy enhancements, fund transfers, reduced spending, and increased resources.
The House proposal makes $1.5 billion in additional policy enhancements, the majority of which are in K-12 ($955 million). Among the investments made include:
$839 million to K-12 to fund increased materials, supplies, and operating costs; reduce early elementary class size (K-3); fund pupil transportation and expand all-day kindergarten
- $146 million for home care worker compensation
$68 million for postsecondary education financial aid
$30 million for Early Childhood Education Assistance Program enhancements
$25 million for debt service on anticipated new capital projects
- $24 million for state parks
These enhancements as well as the other parts of the budget are funded through a combination of savings, reduced spending, and increased resources.
$509 million in fund transfers
$1.6 billion in reduced spending
$339 billion in increased revenue
The House proposal leaves $606 million in projected total reserves.
The House proposal makes an investment in higher education that moves in the right direction. The budget provides $11 million in targeted funding for state instructional support.
The proposed budget assumes a 3% tuition increase for all of the four-year public institutions and the community and technical colleges.
The budget includes language requiring the Office of Financial Management to convent a joint committee to propose an incentive funding model for the public baccalaureate institutions.
Finally the budget makes an investment in financial aid including the College Bound Scholarship program and the State Need Grant.
The House proposal continues the suspension of some small state financial aid programs from 2011-13 including suspension of Washington Scholars, WAVE, Health Professional Scholarships, and Future Teacher Scholarships.
For Evergreen the House’s proposed budget would allow tuition for undergraduate residents to increase by 3% per year of the biennium. The College may increase tuition beyond this level but would be required to invest in institutional financial aid.
In addition the budget appropriates $1.157 million for the purpose of instructional support. These funds include $405,000 in additional funds to support this effort and $752,000 that would come to the College if the proposed revenue budget (HB 2034) is passed. If the revenue package is not passed by the Legislature, then the $752,000 would be met within existing college funds. Evergreen is required to provide a report by September 1, 2014 that provides the specific details on how these amounts were spent in the preceding fiscal year and any process changes or best-practices implemented in the College.
Finally, the Washington State Institute for Public Policy, a public service center of Evergreen, is funded to support a comprehensive study of the financial incentives promoting distributed generation in Washington and to provide primary staff support for a K-12 funding task force.
The House is expected to move the proposed biennial operating budget out of committee this afternoon followed by a vote on the floor on either Thursday or Friday.