Governor’s 2021-23 budget proposal generous for higher ed

In mid-December, Governor Inslee released his 2021-23 budget proposal. The Governor’s budget was more generous to higher education than expected, despite lower revenue collections due to COVID-19.

Inslee’s proposal is equity-focused, with an emphasis on the expansion of job skills training and job creation, both of which require new higher ed investment and protection of current investments.

As UW Impact advocates, we will use the Governor’s budget as our model budget during the upcoming 105-day legislative session, beginning on Monday, January 11. UW Impact advocates will specifically focus on investments in access and affordability, quality, and high-demand degrees.

With those priorities in mind, here are some key highlights in the Governor’s proposal for the UW:

  • $56M per year in ongoing and expanded funding for safety-net clinical care at UW Medical ($55M) and UW Dentistry ($1M) clinics;
  • $60M for UW Medicine in FY21 to offset costs associated with COVID-19 response efforts and ensure continued operations;
  • $45.4M in capital budget funds for a new interdisciplinary teaching and research facility for the College of Engineering in Seattle;
  • $36M to construct a new business and engineering building at UW Tacoma;
  • $2.3M in capital budget funds for the UW’s medical school partnership with Gonzaga University to provide Spokane and eastern Washington medical students with a new, state-of-the-art learning space, and
  • $191.25M to construct a new Behavioral Health Teaching Facility on the UW Medical Center-Northwest campus.

Why the generous budget despite the times? For one, the UW has had a prominent and consistent presence in the local, regional, and national media while addressing COVID-19, reminding lawmakers of the importance of our research institutions. In addition, we like to think our advocates have helped their officials fully comprehend the benefits of post-secondary education during times of economic hardship. We look forward to continuing to educate our legislators in the upcoming session.

Read about the Governor’s budget for UW in full in the UW Office of Planning and Budgeting brief here. Find the University’s legislative agenda here.