WUD Society & Politics and the Wisconsin Center for the Advancement of Postsecondary Education (WISCAPE) will hold a panel discussion followed by audience Q&A on the proposed state biennial budget. The event will be held from 6-8 p.m. in Varsity Hall in Union South on Monday, March 2.
In a new post on her blog Wednesday, Chancellor Rebecca Blank called on members of the campus community to maintain a “civil public conversation,” even around hot-button issues like the budget and public authority. She also reiterated that her advocacy has been in support of a strong budget for UW-Madison and not for the purpose of making political attacks.
“The ongoing debate about the proposed UW System budget has attracted national attention, perhaps not surprisingly, as it has gotten caught in the swirl of media and presidential politics.
I have been dismayed to see my statements advocating for a strong budget for UW-Madison presented as attacks on Governor Walker.”
UW System President Ray Cross outlines his view of the public authority proposal in a Milwaukee Journal Sentinel op-ed. “Right now, we have a substantial budget reduction to face and to manage. However, the tools to build a more stable and sustainable UW System of the future are within the state budget proposal,” he writes.
The University of Wisconsin-Madison is asking its faculty and staff to help identify potential savings and efficiencies.
At a time when proposed budget reductions pose significant challenges, the university is turning to its employees for suggestions on how to reduce costs and improve resource stewardship.
Numerous forums will take place in the coming weeks to encourage members of the UW-Madison community to provide their feedback on this proposal. In addition to forums centered on faculty and staff issues, students can voice their opinions on Monday, Feb. 23 at 6:30 p.m. in Varsity Hall at Union South. The event will be streamed.
On her blog Blank’s Slate, Chancellor Blank is sharing an update on the discussions around the state budget. She writes:
“While the proposed $300 million cut to the UW System is a tremendous challenge, thanks to your efforts, we believe we are having an impact on the budget debate.
“I’ve met recently with several members of the legislature and there appears to be an understanding that this budget cut is very large and a genuine interest in seeking ways to reduce the size of the cut.
“I want to thank legislators in both political parties for their openness to this discussion. We all recognize that the university must do its part to help during difficult fiscal times for the state, but no one wins if we disrupt the significant educational and economic benefits generated by the UW.”
The introduction of the governor’s biennial budget bill raises questions about what efforts are appropriate to influence legislative consideration of the budget bill. Written or oral communications with legislators, legislative staff, the governor, the governor’s staff, or other agency officials involved in the legislative process (“state officials”) made to influence legislation constitute “lobbying” that is regulated by state law. Lobbying does not extend to providing responses to requests for information from legislators or legislative staff.
What follows is a description of the types of lobbying that university employees could do and the corresponding reporting obligations under the state’s lobbying law.