Elson S. Floyd, Ph.D. - Updated 12/14/10
The Legislature’s Special Session
As many of you are aware, Gov. Christine Gregoire called a special session of the Washington Legislature last week to help address the projected $1.1 billion shortfall in state revenues.
The session was held Saturday, and lawmakers agreed on a number of actions to reduce the budget. Of overriding interest to Washington State University was a supplemental cut of 4.2 percent for higher education. For WSU, this translates to a temporary budget reduction of about $7.48 million for this fiscal year.
Today (Dec. 14) we received confirmation that the $7.48 million reduction was a substitute for, rather than an addition to, the $11.2 million temporary cut for WSU ordered by the governor in the fall.
So that is a small bit of good news. In effect, our temporary reduction for the current year is about $3.7 million less than would have been required under the governor’s original proposal.
However, the governor will be releasing her 2011-13 biennial operating budget Wednesday (Dec. 15), and that budget is likely to require further cuts from a wide range of state programs for the upcoming biennium.
While this confirmation does ease the pressure for further immediate action by our university somewhat, we still find ourselves in the midst of an untenable budget situation. We have, as you well know, been subject to a series of major reductions in our state allocations over the past three years. Provost and Executive Vice President Warwick M. Bayly and I will be meeting with university leaders in upcoming days to discuss our university’s budget strategy moving forward.
As we look ahead, it is our responsibility to examine closely everything we do as an institution and to consider a wide range of options on how we might fundamentally restructure our operations to reflect the state’s continuing fiscal crisis.
As always, I appreciate your input, your thoughts, and all that you do for our university.