Political Buzz

Talking WA politics.

NOTICE: Political Buzz has moved.

With the launch of our new website, we've moved Political Buzz.
Visit the new section.

Budget deal includes 1.9% teacher pay cut, 16 percent tuition hike, shrinking safety net

Post by Jordan Schrader / The News Tribune on May 24, 2011 at 12:25 pm | 38 Comments »
May 24, 2011 12:29 pm

Details of the $32.2 billion budget deal released today after negotiations between Republicans and Democrats in the Senate and House:

  • Makes $4.6 billion in total cuts to what would otherwise be spent over the next two years. There are also $458 million worth of transfers of money and $57 million in new revenue mainly from fees.
  • Cuts 1.9 percent in pay for teachers and other staff. School administrators will be cut 3 percent. Teachers’ longevity pay increases won’t be frozen.
  • Cuts 3 percent in pay for other state employees, as agreed to in contract negotiations. Unlike teachers, the cuts will come in the form of unpaid furloughs and pay levels will bounce back after two years.
  • Ends the main annual cost-of-living-increase in pension payments to retired state employees and teachers.
  • Increases class sizes in kindergarten through fourth grade.
  • Cuts $618 million or 22 percent from universities and colleges’ budgets. The budget assumes an annual 16 percent increase in tuition at the University of Washington, Washington State and Western Washington, with 14 percent at Central Washington and Evergreen State, 12 percent at community colleges and 11 percent at Eastern Washington. Universities will get the authority to set their own tuition, though, and could raise tuition even more if they offer more financial aid.
  • Eliminates cash grants to the temporarily disabled, replacing them with housing aid. Maintains state-funded medical care for the disabled.
  • Tightens eligibility for state health insurance coverage for immigrant children, reducing it from 250 to 200 percent of the poverty level — but not freezing admission into the program.
  • Continues a freeze on enrollment in the Basic Health Plan’s state subsidized insurance.
  • Cuts 10.6 percent from the Medicaid payments rates for low-income health clinics and makes smaller cuts to Medicaid rates for hospitals. To avoid major cuts to nursing homes, puts a new fee in place on the homes.
  • Cuts paid time for in-home health care workers by 10 percent.
  • Creates a new $30-a-year vehicle pass that visitors to state recreation lands must pay, allowing state parks to shift off the state’s general fund.
  • Cuts 7 to 10 percent statewide from management and administration.
The News Tribune now uses Facebook commenting on selected blogs. See editor's column for more details. Commenters are expected to abide by terms of service for Facebook as well as commenting rules for thenewstribune.com. Report violators to webmaster@thenewstribune.com.