Gov. Walker releases proposed budget

Governor Scott Walker tonight introduced his 2015-17 budget plan for Wisconsin, including several pieces related to the University of Wisconsin System.

As expected, Walker’s proposal includes a $300 million cut to the University of Wisconsin System budget over the next two years and a freeze on in-state tuition for the next two years. The governor also proposes creating a University of Wisconsin System Authority and giving the System greater flexibility to manage tuition, building projects, human resources, compensation and procurement. The new public authority would be created on July 1, 2016, and tuition authority would be granted beginning in the 2017-18 school year.

University employees would continue to participate in the Wisconsin Retirement System and the Group Insurance Board health plan. 

The public authority would receive a designated funding stream from the state beginning in the next biennium, designating base funding of $753 million to the public authority from the sales tax, indexed to the change in consumer prices beginning in fiscal year 2018-19.

Also related to higher education, Walker proposes eliminating the Educational Approval Board to “(r)educe the regulatory and fiscal burden on private for-profit education entities.” The Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection would have broad authority to address complaints regarding both for-profit and non-profit higher education institutions.