Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Comparison of House and Senate budget proposals

Last night, Senators Murray and Zarelli released their 2011-13 operating budget proposal which will be heard in the Senate Ways & Means Committee this afternoon.

The Senate leaves a smaller ending fund balance at $738 million and spends $327 million less. You can see a detailed comparison here but here are a few highlights.

Similarities - both proposals:
  • Suspend automatic retirement Plans 1 increases + increase minimum benefits ($360 million)
  • Reduce salary for state and higher ed employees by 3 percent ($177 million)
  • Fund LEOFF 2 at actuarial rates + suspension of benefits enhancement fund ($20 million)
  • Suspend Initiative 728 ($860.7 million) and Initiative 732 ($212 million) - these are the classroom size and teacher raise initiatives
  • Reduce State Need Grant awards to private college students ($19.6 million)
  • Change hospital rates ($110.4 million)
  • Delay mandatory training for home health care workers under I-1029 ($22.1 million)
  • Reduce agency/individual provider health care ($10.4 million)
  • Reduce personal care hours ($97.5 million)
  • Include Discover WA Pass for state parks ($68.7 million)
  • Suspend presidential primary ($10 million)

Major differences - The Senate proposal:

  • Reduces all K-12 salaries by 3 percent (House eliminated step increases for certificated staff) – saves $251.2 million
  • Includes additional temporary layoffs for all staff (represented and non-represented) making over $50,000, includes higher ed
K-12 - overall K-12 spending is about $30 million lower:
  • Reduces school district funding by $95 million by changing average daily attendance allocation
  • Spends more on K-3 class size and K-12 formula conversion
  • Assumes that a new school employees benefits organization will be created (House calls for a work group to examine and make recommendations)
Higher education:
  • Higher across-the-board reductions with higher tuition increase assumptions: 16% at UW, WSU and WWU; 14% at CWU and Evergreen; 12% at the community and technical colleges and 11% at EWU
  • The community and technical colleges are reduced an additional $15 million and then $15 million is re-directed to worker retraining
Health care:
  • Lower enrollment/freezes in the Basic Health Plan, Disability Lifeline Medical, ADATSA and Children’s Health – additional $74 million in reductions
  • Healthy Options Rate Reductions - $21.4 million in additional reductions
  • Drug co-pays for $10.3 million in reductions and premium increases of $8.8 million for Apple Health
  • Reduces $4.5 million (half) of family planning grants
Human services:
  • Eliminates the Disability Lifeline cash grant – reduction of additional $84.3 million
  • Assumes that Rainier School, the DD institution in Buckley, will close
Statewide reductions:
  • $16 million in worker compensation costs due to ESB 5566
  • Across-the-board management efficiency reductions of $14.8 million
  • Assumes the state will contract out mail services, the motor pool, printing and real estate management
House Majority Leader Pat Sullivan and House Ways & Means Chair Ross Hunter issued short statements about the proposal last night. The next two weeks will be spent with House and Senate leaders hunkered down in meetings, negotiating and coming to a budget agreement.