It’s only a couple minutes old but as with any Budget there are positives and negatives. Unfortunately, there appear to be more negatives than positives.
Regarding state employee and higher education contracts, nearly all, except Teamsters correction contract and Washington State Patrol, were not funded. Instead higher education employees will be provided a $500 per year salary increase effective July 1, 2017, and July 1, 2018. On the other hand, the union coalition bargaining agreement on health insurance was fully funded.
On the bleaker K 12 side, the Senate budget repeals the Initiative 732 salary increase instead providing a 2.3% salary increase effective September 1, 2017. Further, insurance funding would not change staying at $780 per month for the 2017-18 school year.
What’s important to realize is that there isn’t funding for a salary or insurance increase the second year of the budget since this is the year when the Senate republican McCleary solution, SB 5607, takes effect (see my previous entry about the bill). Sorry to get complicated but starting September 1, 2018, school districts would receive increased state funding based upon the National IPD (implicit price deflator). The IPD usually runs about 1% below the Seattle CPI (consumer price index) – the current measure for our annual salary increases. The way their proposal works is that when this IPD increase goes into effect in September 2018, we will have to negotiate with the school district how much of this increased funding goes for salary or insurance benefit increases starting September 1, 2018.
One positive with their proposal (looking hard for a silver lining), really not this proposal, but their McCleary solution: the state will be funding the additional 5,000 classified employee FTEs that are currently funded by local levies.
And another good point is that the pension plan was fully funded with an additional $246 million set aside to pay for the unfunded liability.
As I spend more time on this proposal, I will update as needed.
Update #1 – Good news…The Senate fully funded PSE’s paraeducator bill, SB 5070 at a cost of $2.3 million!
Update #2 – Good news…they used $700 million from the “rainy day” fund to buy down the PERS 1 unfunded liability.