Budget Negotiations Begin

March 31, 2017
Aerial view of the EWU Cheney campus covered in fresh snow under a clear sky

Today is the 82nd day of the 2017 Regular Session. 23 days to go!

Last week, the Senate released their budget proposal and this week was the House’s turn. Below you will find a comparison of the two budgets. So far, we have only seen the Senate’s capital budget. It included $60 million for the construction of the Interdisciplinary Science Center. We expect the House version mid next week.

Total Budget$43.0 billion$44.8 billion
Revenue Raised$1.5 billion through property tax levy swap$3.0 billion through capital gains tax, a graduated rate for the real estate excise tax, B&O tax increases, economic nexus changes, and ending various tax preferences
Policy Changes$2.4 million for 200 additional enrollment slots (140 of which must be in STEM)
$850k loss in waiver authority
$1.7 million for student success initiatives
$200k in matching funds for two additional tenure-track faculty
$1.9 million to expand RIDE in partnership with UW
Tuition Policy2.2% annual tuition increaseTuition freeze with backfill
State Need Grant$37 million to maintain current service levels$72 million to expand state need grant and serve ¼ of the currently unserved students
CompensationRejects governor’s CBAs; $500 annual increase in compensation per employeePartially funded governor’s negotiated CBAs

In the lead up to the release of the budgets, we had Olympia visits from Dean Bowman, CSTEM, as well as President Cullinan. Below are a few pictures from their time in Olympia.

The regular legislative session is scheduled to adjourn on April 23 but we expect budget negotiations will continue into at least one special session. At this point, there is substantial disagreement between the two chambers on how much to spend, how to fund those spending changes (what new taxes–if any), and what to buy. In addition, there is still no agreement on how to solve the state’s McCleary obligation. At present, there is still a substantial amount of work to be done before members can return home to their districts and adjourn.