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Budget awaits governor’s signature

The Wisconsin State Assembly and Senate each passed the 2017-19 budget bill last week. The bill now goes to Gov. Scott Walker, who could sign it into law as soon as this week.

A comparative summary of the budget originally proposed by the governor and the version approved by the legislature can be viewed here, or click here for the UW System portion.

State budget passes Senate, awaits Walker signature

The Senate passed the state budget Friday on a vote of 19-14. The spending plan contains $36 million in new funding for UW System, among other provisions. It next heads to Governor Scott Walker for his signature and possible vetoes.

Finance wrap-up motion contains UW items

The Joint Committee on Finance concluded its work on the 2017-19 state budget on Wednesday, Sept. 6 with a wrap-up motion containing three provisions that impact UW-Madison and its employees.

Chancellor Rebecca Blank thanked the members of the Committee for their work over the last several months, which yielded a UW System budget with $36 million in increased funding, increases in capital spending, and employee compensation.

“We asked for reinvestment in UW System and are grateful our message was heard by the members of the committee,” Blank said. “We’re also pleased to see employee compensation increases accelerated by the committee today, which will help us attract and retain talent.”

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President Cross statement on 2017-19 Capital Budget

“I would like to thank Senator Darling and Representative Nygren for their support of the UW System. They made a commitment to work with us throughout the budget process, and we greatly appreciate this investment in our institutions. I also want to especially thank Representative Born and his staff for their leadership in the capital budget. They made investing in our infrastructure a priority and we appreciate their work.

“With the funding approved today, our campuses will be able to conduct maintenance, repair, and renovation projects, as well as provide important instructional space for our faculty and students.”

Chancellor Blank statement on Joint Finance Committee vote on building projects

University of Wisconsin—Madison Chancellor Rebecca Blank issued the following statement today in reaction to the Joint Finance Committee’s unanimous approval of the Building Commission and Building Program omnibus motion:

“I appreciate the Joint Finance Committee’s vote today to add two very important projects for our campus to the Capital Budget, and their support of the governor’s recommendation for much needed ‘all-agency’ funding for limited scope maintenance projects that repair, renovate, replace, and upgrade building components and systems.

“The construction of a parking ramp on the west end of campus is a necessary step toward facilitating a badly needed expansion of the School of Veterinary Medicine. The school was built to accommodate 12,000 patients per year, but served more than 26,000 last year. The construction of the ramp involves no state tax dollars and will be paid for by revenues generated by UW-Madison, and will ultimately allow the School of Veterinary Medicine to serve Wisconsin farmers and pet owners better.

“The utilities project is a necessary upgrade to outdated thermal utilities, electrical utilities, sanitary and storm sewers, and water systems along Lathrop Drive and Bascom Hill. The need for the project was hastened by a steam pipe rupture in Radio Hall on our campus this past spring.

“We will continue to stress the need to include these projects in the state budget bill as the legislation goes to the Assembly, Senate and to Governor Walker for approval.”

 

Regents approve UW System budget that shifts funding

The UW System Board of Regents on Thursday approved a 2017-18 operating budget that sets nonresident and graduate and professional school tuition rates for the coming academic year as well as rates for housing and student fees. The operating budget shows increased revenues for UW-Madison across all funds of approximately 2.5 percent.

However, the approved budget also shifts to other system schools a percentage of returned lapse funding that would traditionally go to UW-Madison. The shift came after UW System leaders stressed that all campuses continue to face financial challenges heading into the new biennium.

While UW-Madison leaders agreed, as a one-time measure, to share some portion of the normal allocation for the $50 million in returned lapse funding, Chancellor Rebecca Blank raised concerns about the size of the reduction prior to the vote. UW-Madison will receive approximately $13 million less over the biennium under the recalculated allocation of the lapsed dollars. The allocation formula for the other state dollars received by the UW System remains unchanged.

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Chancellor Blank statement on today’s Joint Finance Committee vote

University of Wisconsin-Madison Chancellor Rebecca Blank issued the following statement regarding the Joint Committee on Finance’s vote on the state employee compensation plan.

“While we are still reviewing the actions taken by the Joint Finance Committee related to potential changes in health care benefits for state employees, I want to thank the members of the Committee for approving a compensation plan that includes an increase in pay for UW System employees. Providing this increase will help us attract and retain the best and brightest instructors, researchers and staff.”

Statement from UW System President Cross on Joint Finance action

University of Wisconsin System President Ray Cross today issued the following statement regarding the Joint Committee on Finance’s vote on the compensation plan for state employees:

“We thank the Joint Finance Committee for the compensation plan it approved today. Our faculty and staff work incredibly hard, and this increase recognizes that our institutions compete for talent at a national and international level. This pay plan represents the largest investment the State has made in UW employees in more than a decade.”

UW System President Ray Cross statement on Joint Finance action

“I would like to thank the members of the Joint Finance Committee for their support of the UW System. In particular, I want to thank Speaker Vos, Majority Leader Fitzgerald, Finance Co-Chairs Darling and Nygren, as well as Senator Harsdorf and Representative Born, for their leadership in bringing forward the UW System budget motion and their commitment to working with us throughout the budget process.

“We put forth a reasonable budget request that strategically aligns our resources with the state’s greatest needs. While we have concerns with some of the provisions, the vast majority of our requests were approved, and we look forward to working with the legislature on remaining issues, including our capital budget and compensation requests. Our Regents, Chancellors, and System leadership will continue to advocate for the UW System, our students, families, and the taxpayers of Wisconsin.”

Omnibus motion on UW System funding debated

The Joint Finance Committee has released an omnibus motion on the UW System budget. Read the motion here.

The committee is currently debating the motion. The meeting can be viewed on WisconsinEye.

UPDATE: The omnibus motion passed on a 12-4 vote.