The capital budget proposal unveiled in the state Senate this morning funds most of WSU’s top priorities.
The governor’s proposal was released in December and the House proposal was introduced Monday. Negotiators will now work to hammer out a compromise to send to the governor’s office. Here’s a rundown of where things stand.
The university’s $36.4 million construction request to complete the new home of the Washington Animal Disease Diagnostic Lab is now funded in all three budget proposals.
The $27 million construction request to build a new academic building at WSU Tri-Cities is now funded in all three proposals.
The university’s $500,000 request for pre-design of a new Biomedical and Health Sciences Building at WSU Spokane is also funded in all three proposals.
The $4 million request to design a Life Sciences Building at WSU Vancouver was included in the Senate proposal. The governor’s budget also funded the project, but the House budget did not.
Both the Senate and House budget proposals included $10 million to support a land purchase to support future growth at WSU Everett.
The governor’s budget was the only one to fund WSU’s $4.9 million request for STEM teaching lab renovations in Pullman.
You can view WSU’s testimony on the Senate’s capital budget below.
Capital budget writers in the state House of Representatives today unveiled a proposal that fully funds WSU’s two construction priorities — the $36.4 million to complete the Global Animal Health II project in Pullman and $27 million to construct a new academic building at WSU Tri-Cities.
Partial funding was provided by the Legislature last year to begin construction on Global Animal Health II, which will be the new home for the Washington Animal Disease Diagnostic Lab. Securing funds to complete the project is WSU’s top capital budget priority.
The WSU Tri-Cities project is needed to help the campus accommodate enrollment growth.
The proposal also included funding for the following.
$500,000 in pre-design for the proposed Biomedical and Health Sciences II project at WSU Spokane
$10 million to help secure a land purchase in Everett to help WSU Everett plan for future growth
$21.4 million for minor capital preservation
$9.3 million for minor capital program
Notably missing was WSU’s $4 million request to design a new Life Sciences Building in Vancouver and its $4.9 million request for STEM lab renovations in Pullman.
The Senate will unveil its own version in the days to come before the Legislature negotiates a compromise to send to the governor’s office later this spring.
The operating budget proposal unveiled today by leaders in the state House of Representatives partially funds WSU’s top priority by providing $10.8 million in core funding for the Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine over the 2019-21 biennium.
That would complete funding for the medical school’s original annual cohorts of 60. But it did not provide funding to allow the medical school to begin admitting an additional 20 students beginning this fall as planned. The university’s total operating request for the college is $14.4 million.
The budget proposal also provides funds for compensation adjustments for faculty and non-represented staff, though that was still being analyzed early this afternoon.
The Senate is expected to introduce its own budget proposal in the days to come in time for legislative leaders to agree on a compromise version to send to the governor’s desk by this year’s April 28 scheduled adjournment.
The state’s Economic and Revenue Forecast Council this morning delivered a quarterly report that increases anticipated tax collections for the remainder of the 2017-19 budget cycle and the new one that begins July 1 by $860 million.
That brings anticipated revenues for the 2019-21 biennium to $50.56 billion, or 9.6 percent higher than in 2017-19. Budget writers in the House and Senate will use these assumptions to write their budget proposals that they’ll begin rolling out next week.
The baseline forecast approved by the council assumes slowing economic growth but does not assume the onset of a recession. It does note that Washington employment projections are a bit lower and that Washington exports are down.
Tax collections over the past month once again outperformed expectations, delivering a bit of good news leading up to Wednesday’s quarterly revenue forecast that legislative leaders will use to write their budget proposals this spring.
Since the November forecast used by Gov. Jay Inslee to write his proposal, collections are up $171.9 million, or 2.6 percent higher than projected once you back out one-time large payments that are not attributable to economic activity.
The report notes a cooling Seattle housing market and a notable reduction in agricultural exports. You can view the report here.
The American Society of Agronomy (ASA), Crop Science Society of America (CSSA) and Soil Science Society of America (SSSA) selected the 2019 ASA, CSSA, and SSSA Future Leaders in Science Award. Halle Choi with the Sustainable Seed Systems Lab of Washington State University was one of 18 graduate students members who received the award in recognition of her interest and engagement in science advocacy. Award winners received a trip to Washington, D.C. to participate in the annual ASA, CSSA, and SSSA Congressional Visits Day on March 5, where they met with their members of Congress to advocate for food, agriculture and natural resources research.
Under current law, nursing, pharmacy and medical students taking basic vital signs at health fairs and other such events must be supervised by faculty from their specific discipline. That requirement can limit such opportunities when faculty supervisors can’t be scheduled.
The bill approved Monday would allow supervision for all students by a single faculty member from any one of the disciplines. It is being supported not only by students but WSU itself as well as the state Nurses Association.
Watch the video below to see the House Floor Debate on HB 1726:
The state House of Representatives on Friday approved legislation that would allow students under 21 enrolled in viticulture and enology programs at four-year universities to taste but not consume wine as part of their educational experiences outside the classroom. HB 1563 extends on legislation passed in 2015 to include grape-growing areas and wine production facilities as allowable places for supervised students to sip and expectorate wine as part of their educational training.
The bill, supported by WSU, passed through the House 89-6. It now moves to the Senate where it will begin the process again.
Watch the video below to see the House Floor Debate on HB 1563.