Monday, June 6, 2011

UW-Madison Spinoff Proposal Absent in Final Budget


(davwi.org) -- The joint proposal by Governor Scott Walker, a conservative, and UW-Madison Chancellor Biddy Martin, a liberal, to spin off the Madison campus from the rest of the UW system is absent in the final state budget proposal. 

The original proposal included a provision that would have provided the campus campus with the autonomy to do away with the Wisconsin G.I. Bill tuition remission program for state veterans and dependents of deceased and seriously disabled veterans.  Biddy issued a statement in support of the continuation of the program and called any attempt to quash it, “unthinkable.”

According to an article by Kate Elizabeth Queram in the Eau Claire Leader-Telegram and a statement from the UW System, the UW-related changes in the final budget include the following:

  • The entire UW System gains greater autonomy in spending through a “block grant” system and “new leadership flexibilities in budgeting, financial management, personnel, and purchasing”
  • UW-Madison is not spun off from the UW System
  • Total cuts in state support to the UW System over the biennium will total $250 million
  • UW-Madison’s portion of the cuts will be at $94 million over the biennium, less than the original $125 million proposed

The legislature’s Joint Finance Committee approved the final budget on Friday along party lines by a 12-4 vote.

The budget now goes to both houses of the state legislature.  The state constitution sets a June 30th deadline for the budget to be complete.

According to the UW System, ““UW leaders will continue working with legislators and the Governor to ensure that new flexibilities are not diluted in any way during the remainder of the budget-making process. At the same time, they hope to address specific issues in the budget bill to achieve the best possible outcomes for all UW institutions.” 

The UW System has proposed a plan called the Wisconsin Idea Partnership for which it is seeking legislative implementation.


--Anthony Hardie

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