October 27, 2011 - Governor Provides Budget Cut Alternatives to Fill Growing Gap
Today Governor Gregoire released a list of more than $4 billion in budget cut alternatives to provide legislators and stakeholders with an array of options in solving the $2 billion budget shortfall facing the state. Within this list she identified $1.5-$2 billion in reductions that she is considering for inclusion in her supplemental budget.
The Governor's recommended cuts for higher education - reducing state funding an additional 15 percent in the current biennium, eliminating state work study, and requiring all state employees to pay $25 per month more toward their healthcare benefits - are substantial and would have a significant impact on the college, its students and its employees. However, they are in line with the planning we have been doing since the September revenue forecast.
While furloughs, other pay reductions, cuts in the State Need Grant and cuts of up to 20 percent to higher education are included in the larger $4 billion set of alternatives, the Governor has suggested that these items are not part of her preliminary choices for solving the $2 billion shortfall at this time, but she did note that her final recommendations may change. Beyond that, the legislature will make the final decisions.
The November 17 state revenue forecast and the Governor's formal budget submission on or before November 28 will give us our next indications of the magnitude of the budget cuts ahead. The Governor indicated that her hope was to finalize the budget in the 30-day special session.
We will keep you informed as we learn more. We'll continue to post information on our budget Web page and on our Government Relations blog . You can learn more about what higher education advocates are doing to participate in the budget discussions at the College Promise Coalition .