What the Senate operating budget means for WSUdiana.amortegui
Leaders in the state Senate today unveiled an operating budget proposal that, for WSU, mirrors the version introduced by the governor in December in many respects.
Highlights include the following.
- Cost of living adjustments of 4 percent in fiscal year 2024 and 3 percent in fiscal year 2025 are provided for non-represented classified staff. Funding provided for faculty, professional staff and graduate students would be sufficient to support increases of 2.2 percent and 1.6 percent over the two years. Funding was also provided for bargaining units.
- The Senate fully funds WSU’s $3.9 million biennial request to enhance nursing salaries but funds the university’s near $500,000 equipment renewal request on a one-time basis only.
- Like the governor, the budget does not fund WSU’s request for a social work program at WSU Tri-Cities.
- The Senate plan funds the infectious disease component of WSU’s public health degree proposal for WSU Pullman but does not fund the behavioral health component for Vancouver and Spokane. The governor’s plan funded both.
- Like the governor, the Senate fully funds the governor’s $7.7 million request to establish the Institute for Northwest Energy Futures centered at WSU Tri-Cities.
- Like the governor, the Senate provides $1.2 million over the biennium in core support for the Ruckelshaus Center.
- The Senate plan also funds a series of legislator requests involving WSU, including the creation of a journalism fellowship program for the Murrow College of Communication, a MESA program at WSU Everett, and assorted small assignments for research and work groups.
- Like the governor, the Senate plan also completes a fund swap of sorts with the capital budget by providing $10 million more in operating dollars for maintenance and operation to temporarily supplant funding historically provided in the capital budget that would now be repurposed to bolster minor works efforts, especially preservation activities to reduce deferred maintenance needs across the WSU system.
The House is expected to release its operating budget proposal on Monday. Once all three budgets are on the table, negotiators from the House, Senate and Governor’s office will hammer out a compromise.