Legislature adopts budgets, adjourns for the year

Gavels fell on the Legislature’s first special session Wednesday night sending lawmakers home after 135 grueling days.

The House and Senate both gave final approval to new two-year operating and capital budgets on the session’s final day. In short, the operating budget cuts $108 million, or 26 percent, from WSU’s state appropriation and provided authorization for consecutive tuition increases of 16 percent, which would reduce the net cut to about 5.2 percent.

It’s worth noting that WSU’s state appropriation for the next two years is $1 million smaller than the one the Legislature appropriated for the university 20 years ago.

Overall, the Legislature left $723 million in reserve. Of that, $442 million is unrestricted. The next state revenue forecast is June 16.

The capital budget most notably provided $35 million for WSU’s $71 million Biomedical and Health Sciences Building in Spokane. The $72 million budget for WSU also included $24.3 million for preservation activities.