Joint Finance Committee to hold public hearings

Four public hearings on the 2015-17 state budget will be held over the next couple weeks by the Joint Finance Committee.

The first will be March 18 at Brillion High School in Calumet County. It will be followed by a hearing on March 22 at Alverno College in Milwaukee, March 23 at UW-Barron County in Rice Lake and March 26 at Reedsburg High School.
The Brillion, Alverno College and UW-Barron County hearings will begin at 10 a.m. and are scheduled to end at 5 p.m. The Reedsburg hearing is scheduled from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.

 

Faculty group to hold budget forum Wednesday

PROFS will host a forum on the 2015-17 state budget at 3:30 p.m. on Wednesday in the Wisconsin Idea Room in the Education Building. The forum is free and open to the public.

Panel members will include state representative and Joint Finance Committee member Chris Taylor, D-Madison, George Lightbourn, former Department of Administration Secretary under governors Tommy Thompson and Scott McCallum and UW–Madison Associate Vice Chancellor for Government and Corporate Affairs Charles Hoslet.

For more information on the forum, visit profs.wisc.edu.

Key provisions of budget bill summarized

The key points of Governor Scott Walker’s 2015-17 biennial budget bill proposal that impact UW-Madison are summarized here.

A full analysis of the budget bill has been completed by the Legislative Fiscal Bureau and can be found here.

Academic Staff Assembly joins call for further study of proposed public authority

The Academic Staff Assembly voted Monday on resolutions calling for more study on a proposed public authority for the University of Wisconsin System and greater flexibility in the timing and amount of state budget cuts.

Much of Monday’s discussion centered on the public authority proposed in Gov. Scott Walker’s 2015-17 budget. Representatives called for more information on how it would work and the effects it could have on UW-Madison.

Read more …

Regents support resolution calling for reduced cuts, flexibilities, and dedicated funding stream for UW System

The University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents voted unanimously Thursday to support a resolution calling for the legislature to substantially reduce the proposed base funding cuts to the UW System recommended in the Governor’s budget.

The resolution further requested that the legislature grant long-sought flexibilities to the System, including a dedicated funding stream for state-supported UW operations, as well as appropriate technical changes to the budget “to allow the System to more effectively and efficiently implement those flexibilities, manage its operations, and serve the students and taxpayers of Wisconsin.”

After lengthy discussion, the Board asked the legislature to grant flexibilities “either through an agreed-upon public authority or an appropriate amendment to State Statutes.”

Read the news release from UW System and view the full resolutions.

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Coverage

Wisconsin State Journal Coverage

Regents to discuss budget impact, video of Joint Finance hearing available

The UW System Board of Regents will discuss the biennial budget and its potential effects at a meeting tomorrow at the Gordon Event and Dining Center. Video streaming of the meeting will be available here.

The meeting begins at 9 a.m. tomorrow in the Gordon Dining and Event Center. The budget discussion is scheduled to begin at 12:15 p.m.

Archived video from yesterday’s Joint Finance Committee agency budget hearings is available at WisconsinEye. The UW System testimony begins at around the 3 hour, 36 minute mark.

Cross, Schmidt testify before Joint Finance Committee

UW System President Ray Cross and UW–Eau Claire Chancellor Jim Schmidt testified before the legislature’s Joint Finance Committee today.

Cross summed up his testimony with three requests: approve the UW System Authority, approve the dedicated and stable funding stream, and reduce the proposed $300 million budget cut.

“The reforms we are pursuing are the result of experiences I gained while working in Michigan, Minnesota and New York. Wherever I have worked in higher education, I have seen similar, frustrating barriers to achieving efficiency and effectiveness,” Cross said. “The lack of flexibilities creates a tremendous burden on all of us, including taxpayers. This budget would change that.”

Cross’ full testimony can be read here.

Schmidt also voiced support for the dedicated funding stream and public authority, and reducing the size of the budget cut.

“If we move too quickly, and misstep, we can jeopardize the student educational experience and our ability to implement future changes. Yes, let’s empty the basket. But let’s not throw the basket away. Let’s not risk the long-term health of a nationally renowned university system for a short-term biennial budget fix,” Schmidt said.

Schmidt’s full testimony can be read here.

Faculty Senate urges study of public authority, preservation of shared governance

The Faculty Senate on Monday called for more study of a proposal to convert the University of Wisconsin System from a state agency to a public authority and passed a measure opposing the removal of shared governance from state statute.

The Senate approved a resolution stating that it cannot support a public authority until more vetting is done and calling for the Board of Regents to appoint a commission of UW System faculty, students and staff to study the viability of the model. The resolution calls for the commission to issue a public report on its findings before the end of this legislative session.

UW System issues FAQ, summary document on public authority

UW System has released an FAQ and initial analysis of the public authority proposal in Governor Scott Walker’s budget.

The Joint Finance Committee has begun agency briefings on the 2015-17 budget. UW System President Ray Cross is scheduled to testify tomorrow before the committee. Tomorrow’s hearing starts at 9 a.m. and can be viewed live at WisconsinEye.

Crist memo clarifies budget impact on employee benefits

In a memo to UW System chancellors, provosts, chief business officers and human resources directors, Senior Vice President for human Resources and Workforce Diversity Al Crist writes that Governor Walker’s proposed budget contains no changes for system employees.

“Many employees have expressed concern about the future of employee benefits and may be making important retirement decisions based on uncertainty about whether they might lose a very valuable benefit if they do not retire,” Crist writes. “I repeat, there is no language in the biennial budget bill currently before the Legislature that would change benefits currently available to UW System employees. This includes the proposed UW System Authority model.”

(Read the full memo here.)

Employee benefits are addressed in the state compensation plan, not the governor’s budget proposal. The compensation plan for the coming biennium has not yet been released. It is typically not released until late spring or early summer, before the state budget is approved.

 

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