06 October 2010

The Budget (in Hard Times?)

The operating budget of Washington State University for 2010 was $604, 811, 000 of which $196,277,000 came from the state general fund.*  This is approximately half a million dollars less than the operating budget of 2008.  (The first year of each biennium has a noticeably smaller budget than the second so we should compare 2010 to 2008, rather than 2009.  If, however, we choose to compare 2010 to 2009, the operating budget for 2010 is 3.6% less than the operating budget for 2009--a total of approximately 23 million dollars--most of which was the reduction of money from the general fund.) 

As of now, the posted operating budget for 2011 is $624,901,000.  This includes the supplementary reduction of $13,480,000 from the general fund allocation.  This represents an increase of 3.3% over the operating budget of 2010 and a reduction of approximately two and a half million (less than .5%)  from the operating budget of 2009.  If the budget for 2011 were reduced another 10%  from the general fund, that would mean that the general fund contribution would be $179,712,000 and the operating budget would be $604,933,000 (i.e. slightly larger than 2010 operating budget), a reduction of 3.2% from the $624,901,000 currently budgeted.

I would not argue that this reduction is a good thing--I would however argue that it is NOT a catastrophe.  It is not a situation that requires massive changes to the way the university conducts its operations.  I wonder why we are instead responding to this situation as though 'no good crisis should go to waste.'

Lynn Gordon

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