Budget bill passes legislature, heads to governor’s desk

The state Assembly and Senate passed the 2021-23 state budget bill, which will now go to Governor Tony Evers.

The legislature’s version of the bill includes a total of $8.25 million in new funding for the UW System for the biennium and restores the Board of Regents’ authority to set tuition for in-state, undergraduate student, ending an 8-year freeze.

Provisions in the budget bill that affect UW-Madison and its employees include:

  • Funding for a new academic facility for the College of Letters & Science at UW–Madison.
  • Funding for a major utility project on the campus that would set the stage for constructing a new College of Engineering facility in the future.
  • 2 percent pay increase for all state employees, including faculty and staff at UW–Madison, in each of the next two years.
  • $2.5 million General Purpose Revenue (GPR) in each year of the biennium for the Freshwater Collaborative, a systemwide initiative.
  • $1 million GPR in each year for UW-Madison to hire additional Division of Extension state agriculture specialists.
  • $250,000 GPR in one-time funding to support a Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies Collaboration with the Department of Defense.
  • $750,000 GPR for programs across UW System that serve youth in foster care.
  • $250,000 GPR in one-time funding for a collaboration with the Water Council and the Department of Defense.
  • $5 million GPR in the second year of the biennium for nurse educators in the Higher Education Aids Board (HEAB) part of the state budget. This funding can be used for grants and loan repayment assistance for nurses who commit to teaching for three or more years in Wisconsin.

The budget package approved by the legislature makes significant changes to the proposal Evers introduced in February. Once the bill hits Evers’ desk, he will have six days to sign the bill, use his partial veto authority, or veto the bill entirely.