No additional cuts to higher education are included in the budget deal finalized Wednesday by the Washington State Legislature.
WSU has not seen a zero-cut budget in five years, according to a previous interview with WSU’s Chief Budget Officer Joan King.
During a long legislative process, WSU waited to hear lawmakers’ decisions regarding education funding. Possible cuts from the governor’s, House’s and Senate’s proposals ranged from zero to about $26 million.
After a double overtime session, the state’s lawmakers adjourned early Wednesday morning with a consolidated supplemental budget that will take no further bites out of university funding.
“These were long, difficult legislative sessions, but the resulting operating and capital budgets show that our legislators truly care about and support higher education,” WSU President Elson S. Floyd said in an email to The Daily Evergreen.
According to Floyd’s post in his “Perspectives” blog, the budget package will allow WSU to complete the Biomedical and Health Sciences Building in Spokane along with supporting new engineering equipment for laboratories in Pullman, Everett and Bremerton.
An expanded engineering program will help meet a statewide need for well-educated workers in the field, he wrote.
“The operating budget has no further reductions for higher education and the capital budget provides funding for projects that are critical to the future of our state,” Floyd said in the email.
Floyd said in “Perspectives” that he credits the protection of higher education in the budget to an improved economic outlook, a realization on the part of lawmakers of the importance of higher education and ongoing efforts from students and the university’s government relations team.
“I am very grateful for the diligent work of all of legislators and for these excellent results,” Floyd said in the email. “These budgets will benefit not just Washington State University and higher education, but all of our state and its future.”