Washington State University would face a $112 million budget cut in its state allocation for the 2011-13 biennium under the operating budget released by the Washington Senate late Tuesday.
The budget released by the House last week called for a $110 million cut in the biennial allocation.
The Senate budget calls for WSU, along with the University of Washington and Western Washington University, to raise resident, undergraduate tuition rates by 16 percent in each of the two years of the biennium. Budgets proposed by the governor and by the House called for tuition increases of 11 percent and 13 percent, respectively, for each of the two years of the biennium.
Under the Senate budget proposal, WSU would face a net cut of $44 million in revenues for the biennium after tuition revenues are factored in. In the House budget, the net shortfall was $53 million.
“We continue to be troubled by the escalation of tuition, which threatens higher education access for Washington students,” said President Elson S. Floyd. “Even with the tuition increase, our university would face dramatic cuts under this budget, as it would under the two other budgets that have been proposed.
“We will continue to work, as the process moves forward, to try to lessen the impact of these reductions, both on our university and on our tuition-paying students,” Floyd said.
The Senate budget includes the 3 percent salary reduction for state employees that was in the House budget. The Senate budget also includes a temporary layoff for certain state employees. How those provisions would apply to higher education is under review.
In its capital budget, the Senate proposed $60 million in funding for the university’s top capital spending priority, the Biomedical and Health Sciences Building on the Riverpoint campus in Spokane. That project received $35 million in the House budget, but was not funded in the governor’s proposal.
In addition to the Spokane building, WSU also was allocated $600,000 in the biennium to expand the WWAMI program. These two allocations are key to training more doctors for the state of Washington.
The Senate’s capital budget also funds $22 million in minor works preservation; $11 million in preventive facility maintenance and repairs and emergency repairs, and $8 million for Fulmer Hall renovation.
The Senate’s capital budget totals $102 million; the governor’s and the House versions were $73 million and $79 million, respectively.
The budget proposals released by Senate leadership Tuesday must go through the approval process in the Senate. Then the Senate and House will seek agreement on the final budget that will be sent to Gov. Christine Gregoire for approval.
The legislative session is scheduled to end on April 24, but a special session to finalize the budget and other legislation remains a possibility.