PULLMAN, Wash. — Washington Gov. Gary Locke on Thursday (April 1) signed the capital budget act calling for $31.6 million for Washington State University’s Spokane Academic Center.
However, Locke used a line-item veto to eliminate the legislative appropriation of $3.4 million to begin construction of the Pullman Wastewater Reclamation project. The governor had originally recommended funding of the project but had also called for a proviso limiting the amount of state funding for the project, a proviso the legislature removed. In his veto message, Lock said the university should attempt to secure alternative funding.
Karl Boehmke, executive director of the WSU Budget Office, said the university has not reached a decision on a new approach for funding the project, which is designed to conserve water.
“Even with the disappointing loss of funding for the wastewater project, the 2004 supplemental capital and operating budgets are very good budgets for WSU and higher education. They provide more funding for enrollment and for research at a critical time,” Boehmke said.
In the operating budget, the governor vetoed a bill stating the Legislature’s intent that colleges and universities manage enrollment within 2 percent of the target. Locke said that Washington’s higher education institutions are now overenrolled and would have to reduce enrollment and student access to meet the mandate.
Locke also vetoed provisos that would have required WSU Vancouver to create plans detailing how the campuses would phase in lower-division courses. He noted that another legislative bill directs all branch campuses to examine their service-delivery options and would allow each campus to best determine its needs. The governor also removed language that would have allowed private institutions to compete for funds from the high-demand enrollment pool administered by the Higher Education Coordinating Board.