Washington State Budget Returns to the 1980s

The State of Washington plans to dramatically cut funding for higher education in the state to deal with the state’s continuing inability to balance the budget. The Evergreen State now has a $4.6 billion budget deficit.

And so Governor Christine Gregoire has given Washington higher education some pretty scary cuts in her new financial plan.

According to an article by Chris Grygiel in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer:

In the 1987-89 biennium, the state contributed $1.08 billion to UW, WSU, WWU, CWU, EWU and Evergreen State. Gregoire’s proposed budget for 2011-13 would allocate $1.04 billion to the schools, [Quinn] Majeski [of the Associated Students of the University of Washington] said, citing figures from the state budget analysts.

“State support would be the same level as the year I was born,” Majeski said.

Actually no. Under Gregoire’s new budget, the state would only be providing the same figure as during, well, the later part of the Reagan administration.

Adjusted for inflation, in order for state spending to remain at the same level as in 1987, Olympia would have to budget a little more than $2 billion to Washington’s public colleges and universities.

Daniel Luzer

Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer