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Changes to state group health insurance

On Jan. 1, there will be changes to deductibles, out-of-pocket costs, prescription co-pays and other aspects of the state employee health insurance program. The UW System describes the changes here.

Legislative Fiscal Bureau says revenue will be flat

In a memo to the co-chairs of the Joint Finance Committee, Legislative Fiscal Bureau Director Bob Lang says that while 2014-15 tax collections may exceed earlier estimates, collections for the next two fiscal years are expected to grow more slowly than expected, meaning no extra revenue for the 2015-17 state budget.

“On balance, we believe that the current estimates for the three-year period are still reasonable and should not be adjusted,” Lang said.

Read the LFB memo here.

Reaction to the budget news:

No hike in revenue estimates forces tough budget decisions

Update: Vos: Lawmakers to restore K-12 cuts despite lack of new revenue

No additional tax revenue projected in Wisconsin; lawmakers vow K-12 won’t be cut $127 million

Joint Finance co-chair pronounces public authority dead

The co-chairs of the Wisconsin legislature’s Joint Finance Committee, said this morning that Gov. Scott Walker’s proposal to create a UW System public authority will not be advanced out of committee.

Rep. John Nygren, R-Marinette, and Sen. Alberta Darling, R-River Hills, also voiced support for lowering the $300 million cut to the UW System proposed in Gov. Scott Walker’s budget.

The UW System budget is expected to be taken up by the committee later this month.

Update on budget timing, process

The Joint Finance Committee is expected to take up the UW System budget as it wraps up its work on the 2015-17 state budget in late May. The committee will propose and vote on amendments to Gov. Scott Walker’s proposal, and then pass the full budget bill as amended.

In the week or two after Joint Finance passage, the Legislative Fiscal Bureau will analyze the changes made to the governor’s budget by the committee. When the analysis is completed, the bill will go before the Assembly and Senate for a vote, usually in early- to mid-June. The bills passed by the two legislative houses must be identical.

Once a bill is passed by both houses of the legislature, the governor’s office analyzes the bill and decides whether there should be any vetoes. The governor usually signs the bill, and issues a veto message, a week to two weeks following legislative passage. If legislators disagree with any of the vetoes, they can override them with a two-thirds majority vote in both houses.

The new fiscal year begins July 1.

Chancellor Blank’s update on budget reductions

Chancellor Blank is sharing an update on UW-Madison budget reductions on her blog, Blank’s Slate. Her $36 million plan includes $21 million in budget cuts and redirects an additional $15 million from other campus units to UW’s overall educational mission. The plan includes the elimination of approximately 400 positions. Read more.


MadREP passes resolution opposing System budget cuts

The Madison Region Economic Partnership, the economic development agency for the eight-county region surrounding the state Capitol, has passed a resolution calling for a reduction in the level of cuts proposed to the UW System in the 2015-17 state budget.

“Though the MadREP Board of Directors rarely weighs in on legislative matters, we determined that the threat facing the UW System by these proposed funding cuts is so profound that such an action is warranted,” says Bill White, Chairman of the MadREP Board of Directors. “The University of Wisconsin is a dynamic economic engine that represents one of the region and state’s most important competitive advantages for its role educating our workforce, performing world-class research, and creating new jobs and companies.”

See MadREP’s press release here.

Study: UW–Madison has $15 billion economic impact on Wisconsin

The University of Wisconsin–Madison’s overall economic impact statewide is $15 billion annually, according to a report from Northstar Consulting Group.

The report shows that UW–Madison, UW Hospital and Clinics and the university’s affiliated organizations and startup companies support 193,310 Wisconsin jobs and generate more than $847.5 million in state and local tax revenue. That’s up from 128,146 jobs and $614 million in tax revenue the last time a similar study was completed in 2011.


Joint Finance Committee votes begin today, UW votes expected in May

The Joint Finance Committee today will begin deliberations on Gov. Scott Walker’s budget proposal. The meeting is scheduled to begin at 10 a.m.

According to the Associated Press, the committee is not expected to vote on the UW System budget until later in May.

Joint Finance Committee meetings can be viewed online at Wisconsin Eye.

Walker letter restores Wisconsin Idea, proposes resident undergrad tuition cap

Gov. Scott Walker made several adjustments to his budget proposal in a letter to the Joint Finance Committee chairs on Monday, including restoring the statutory language about the Wisconsin Idea. The errata letter is sent to legislators to correct errors in the budget bill.

The error message to lawmakers also calls for modifying the budget bill to cap resident undergraduate tuition increases at UW System schools to no more than the annual increase in the consumer price index, which is used by the federal government to track inflation.

In a statement, UW System President Ray Cross said the errata letter “makes a number of welcome corrections” to the original budget proposal and that he is “working with the legislature in a new spirit of openness, dialogue, and partnership to reduce the proposed UW System budget cut and to approve a package of transformative operational flexibilities that will lead to greater efficiency and savings.”

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