CFR Report: Special Budget Issue

4/10/2017 – Currently, the Council of Faculty Representatives and all higher education stakeholders are focused on the budget proposals released by the House and Senate over the last two weeks. At this busy time, it is increasingly likely that a Governor will call a month-long special session (or two) for after the last day of the regular session on Sunday, April 23rd. (The last day of the regular session in legislature-speak is called “sine die” and literally means “without a day”—to reflect the fact that there is no scheduled date for resumption of the session. While Latin purists may disagree, the pronunciation of “sine die” is understood both colloquially and internationally as something like “sigh-nee-die”.)

CFR wanted to provide our campus faculty with an alternative report focused, like we are, on the budget. We also wanted to share with our campus faculty some context for the many budget issues at play. In this report, readers will find a list of budget terms, a visual portrayal of the budgeting process, links to the budget documents, and a student perspective on his research into how the House and Senate prioritize higher education.

On the process: Our state has both a “short session” in even years and a “long session” in odd years (like 2017). While the short sessions run 60 days, the long sessions run 105 days precisely because the biennial budget is first negotiated in long sessions. First, the Governor’s budget proposal is released in even-year Decembers preceding the start of the January legislative session. After receiving the Governor’s budget proposal, the Legislature reviews it and formulates its own budget during the legislative session. The Senate Ways and Means Committee and House Appropriations Committee work separately to analyze the Governor’s budget and develop recommendations and alternative proposals. After each chamber has passed its version of the budget, the differences between the two must be reconciled in the budget conference process. See more in “A Citizen’s Guide to the Washington State Budget.”

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