And Furthermore on the State Budget

One person I called yesterday for Friday’s state budget story was Olympic College President David Mitchell. He sent me a note saying he’d respond when he saw what the budget meant for Olympic specifically. He called back today.

Like others, the 6 percent cut in the budget did not surprise him. If anything, the surprise was pleasant. “We were bracing for much higher,” he said. Community and technical colleges made out better than the big colleges.

That, Mitchell said, was a reflection that community and technical colleges train people to get to the work that is available. “In hastening economic recovery, our mission is workforce development, getting people back to work. I think that message was really heard.”

The college has been preparing for the cuts by not rehiring where there are vacant positions. Mitchell also said the college will look at programs and make more cuts strategically, not across the board. The emphasis will be on saving programs that are in high demand and making cuts where enrollment is low.

And the school probably won’t need to cut enrollment. Those enrolled, however, will pay 5 percent more for tuition if the budget goes through as planned.

One thought on “And Furthermore on the State Budget

  1. I’ve been wondering what the figures given for the 2009-11 budget shortfall refer to. The news media keep saying it’s more than $5 billion and may be $6 billion. Some have even dropped the “may be” and just say it’s $6 billion.

    If the projected budget shortfall is more than $5 billion, then perhaps that includes something other than just the “near general fund-state” part of the state’s budget that is sometimes called the “operating budget.”

    The November Economic and Revenue Forecast, on page 51 (63 of 121 in the “pdf” file), shows the “near general fund-state” revenue forecast to be $32,765.5 million. (The “near general fund-state” part of the budget is everything that could possibly be called the state’s “operating budget,” so far as I can tell. You can see its definition on page 51 too.)

    The governor’s budget proposal shows the total “maintenance level” funding for the “near general fund-state” budget to be $36,926,735,000.
    http://www.ofm.wa.gov/budget09/recsum/budgetcomparison.pdf

    The projected shortfall would be the difference between the “maintenance level” (needed to fund all planned/promised future spending increases) and the revenue forecast.

    The difference is $4,161,235,000 — or about $4.2 billion.

    So, where does the idea of a looming shortfall of more than $5 billion or even as much as $6 billion come from? What revenue forecast could it be based on, if it’s really the “operating budget” that they’re talking about?

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