Chancellor Blank statement on Tommy G. Thompson Center for Public Leadership

UW-Madison Chancellor Rebecca Blank issued the following statement on the announcement of the establishment of the Tommy G. Thompson Center for Public Leadership on campus.

We are delighted that UW-Madison has been chosen as the home for the Tommy G. Thompson Center for Public Leadership. We expect the center will make significant contributions to public policy and leadership in our state and nation. 

Gov. Thompson is a distinguished alumnus who has been a constant supporter of the university. He has helped build our capacity in world-changing areas such as biotechnology. Now through this center, his legacy will help forge closer ties between our researchers and state policy-makers in ways that benefit the people of Wisconsin and beyond. We are grateful for the state’s investment in and support of this work. 

The center, which has been in the works for two years, will embody three of the principles Gov. Thompson expressed during his long and distinguished career in public service: 

  • A belief in the value of objective, non-partisan professional research to inform public policy;
  • A belief that public universities and in particular their faculty have a central role to play in public life;
  • A belief in the Wisconsin Idea – that the university has a duty to ensure that discoveries and knowledge from campus are used to benefit the entire state and beyond. 

Gov. Thompson is one of the great leaders in Wisconsin history and we are privileged to honor his legacy. Just as he did during his time as governor, the Tommy G. Thompson Center will be committed to bringing people together to develop policy reforms that improve public leadership and the practices of American government.

Media coverage:

UW-Madison leadership center will be named for former Gov. Tommy Thompson

UW-Madison leadership center to honor Gov. Tommy Thompson

UW-Madison leadership center to be named after Thompson

Joint Finance Committee will take up UW System budget Tuesday

Joint Committee on Finance announced that it will take up the UW System portion of the 2017-2019 budget on Tuesday, May 23rd at 1:00 pm.

Budget papers for UW System can be viewed here.

Streaming of the session can be found here at WisconsinEye.

Cross: Walker proposal “best budget the UW System has seen in a decade”

UW System President Ray Cross on Thursday testified before the legislature’s Joint Committee on Finance, telling the panel “affordability, accountability, compensation, infrastructure maintenance, and flexibilities are important to the university system.”

“We are very pleased with what the Governor has proposed,” Cross said. “It provides the first investment of new state dollars the UW System has received in more than a decade. We appreciate this recognition of the critical role we play in strengthening Wisconsin’s economy and its workforce. Research continues to show that an investment in the UW System yields at least a ten-fold return.”

Cross’ prepared remarks can be found here.

Video of Cross’ appearance before the committee can be viewed here. (Cross’ testimony begins at the 379:00 mark.)

Media coverage:

UW System President: Walker’s Budget A ‘Move In The Right Direction’

UW System President Ray Cross: Walker proposal the ‘best budget’ for system in 10 years

Joint Committee on Finance begins budget work

The state legislature’s budget-writing committee, the Joint Committee on Finance, will begin its deliberations on the 2017-19 state budget this week.

Three days of agency briefings kick off on Tuesday, with the University of Wisconsin System on the agenda for Thursday’s meeting. The schedule of agency briefings can be viewed here.

Public hearings on the budget are schedule around the state beginning next week, schedule and locations can be found here.

WisconsinEye will have live or taped coverage of the meetings. For program information, visit

Legislative Fiscal Bureau releases 2017-19 budget papers

The non-partisan state Legislative Fiscal Bureau today released papers analyzing Governor Scott Walker’s 2017-19 budget recommendations.

The papers analyzing the governor’s recommendation for UW System can be viewed here.

The full document can be viewed here.

Analysis of Walker’s recommendations for other state agencies can be accessed here.

Walker unveils capital budget recommendations

Governor Scott Walker yesterday released his capital budget recommendations for 2017-19, detailing $803 million in projects over the next two years. Walker’s proposal defers four requested UW-Madison projects but does include significant funding for general maintenance at UW System campuses.

“We appreciate the all-agency funding included in the governor’s capital budget,” UW-Madison Vice Chancellor for University Relations Charles Hoslet said. “We understand his desire to hold down the overall bonding level but look forward to talking with legislators about whether to defer for two more years projects that are supported by program revenue and that we can afford to do now, as delaying will only increase the cost.”

UW System President Ray Cross said the funding provided in Walker’s proposal will allow for general repairs across the UW System, as well as update the technology our students are using in the classroom. He said System will work with the governor and legislators to “ensure we have adequate and refurbished teaching and living space for our students.”

“We carefully developed a reasonable capital budget plan to perform a limited amount of work each year at a steady pace.  The longer we delay these critical repairs, the more it ultimately costs students and taxpayers in the end,” Cross said.

UW System 207-19 capital budget request

Governor Walker’s 2017-19 capital budget recommendations

FAQs on self-insurance proposal offered

In an effort to provide up to date information regarding the state employee self-insurance program proposed by Governor Scott Walker in his 2017-19 budget plan, UW–Madison Office of Human Resources (OHR) will be posting questions they receive and adding answers as information becomes available. Visit the page here.

In future months, OHR will be holding educational sessions to provide information about our 2018 benefits programs.

The University of Wisconsin’s benefit plans are administered by Employee Trust Funds (ETF) and governed by the State of Wisconsin. The Legislature’s Joint Finance Committee has oversight over any self-insurance contract for state workers as required by Wisconsin State Statute 40.03(6)(L). The Department of Employee Trust Funds (ETF) has stated that the committee needs to approve self-insurance contracts by May 1, 2017 in order to implement the change by January, 2018 as planned.

Governor’s budget includes additional funding, policy proposals

Gov. Scott Walker released on Wednesday his proposal for funding state government over the next two years, including roughly $105 million in new funding for the University of Wisconsin System, $35 million to fund a 5 percent tuition reduction, about $5.7 million more for UW System student aid through the Wisconsin Grants program, and new funding for the Wisconsin Rural Physician Residency Assistance Program and Alzheimer’s research at UW–Madison.

More …

Coverage of Walker budget proposal

Associated Press: Wisconsin Gov. Walker proposes liberal funding increases

The Capital Times: Wisconsin lawmakers set for debate over some proposals in Scott Walker’s budget

Wisconsin State Journal: Scott Walker proposes 5 percent tuition cut, new performance funding for UW System

Wisconsin Public Radio: Walker Proposes $76B Budget For 2017-2019

Wisconsin Radio Network: Republicans raise concerns about Walker’s budget plan

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Gov. Scott Walker’s budget includes tax cuts, halt to east-west I-94 plan

Self-insurance included in state budget proposal

The Group Insurance Board (GIB) voted to move Wisconsin to a self-insured health insurance model for state workers effective Jan. 1, 2018. The GIB projects this move to save $60 million over the next two years while providing the same level of benefits to employees and retaining access to 98 percent of our current medical providers. Gov. Scott Walker’s 2017-2019 proposed budget incorporates the anticipated savings. The proposed change still requires approval by the State Legislature.

Self-insurance is a way to finance employer health insurance programs. Instead of the state paying health insurance companies a fixed amount for employee health insurance, ETF would maintain funds in a reserve to pay individual health care claims. Currently, we have three self- insured benefit programs – Uniform Dental Benefits, pharmacy benefits and our Access health insurance plan.

As we learn more details about this new program, we will continue to provide updates to you. We encourage you to view an ETF video explaining self-insurance. An FAQ on the proposal is available here.

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