Governor Tony Evers announced his proposed budget for the 2023-25 biennium on Wednesday, including an increase in state support for UW System and a compensation plan to help state and university employees keep pace with inflation.
With a state budget surplus of more than $7.1 billion, Evers said now is the time for Wisconsin to invest in its most important resources, including the University of Wisconsin System.
Evers’ proposal calls for additional funding for UW System. While most of the funding increase is discretionary, the governor did include targeted funding for UW MIA, the UniverCity Year program, UW Extension’s Rural Wisconsin Entrepreneurship program, and the Wisconsin Grant at the Wisconsin Higher Educational Aids Board.
The proposal also includes funding for the University of Wisconsin System’s Wisconsin Tuition Promise. Modeled after Bucky’s Tuition Promise, but a separate program, the Wisconsin Tuition Promise would provide four years of tuition and fees for Wisconsin residents who attend other system campuses with household incomes under $62,000 adjusted gross income (AGI).
“We thank Governor Evers for recognizing that the University of Wisconsin System is one of our state’s strongest assets, an economic driver and a center for education and innovation,” Mnookin said. “We will continue to work with the governor and state legislative leaders to ensure that more investment in higher education is returned many times over.”
Evers’ budget proposal calls for a compensation plan raising state employee and UW employee pay by 5 percent in the first year of the biennium, and 3 percent in the second year.
“We are in an extremely competitive employment environment for both faculty and staff,” Mnookin said. “UW-Madison has prioritized funding to close past faculty compensation gaps with peer institutions. While we have made important strides in recent years for our staff, we continue to lag based on market data in a number of job categories, and like everyone, we are further impacted by inflation. We thank the governor for recognizing the need to invest in our talented employees, and for helping to ensure continued investments in our people.”
Later this month, Evers will release his capital budget proposal. UW System has requested the budget include several critical UW–Madison projects, including a new College of Engineering building, a key priority for the university that will result in thousands of new graduates in fields that are vital to Wisconsin employers.
The $355.7 million engineering building (with $150 million coming from UW gifts and grants), is designed as a state-of-the-art engineering facility, helping to attract and retain talented faculty members, sustaining the college’s top standing in research and graduate education.
Other building projects included in the System’s budget request include restoration of Music Hall, the Humanities Art Department relocation, Kronshage-Jorns-Humphrey residence halls renovation, replacement of steam utilities in south central campus, and the replacement of the Camp Randall Sports Center (commonly referred to as the Shell) – this last project paid for entirely by university program revenue and gift funds from donors.
The legislature will debate and amend the budget bill this spring before sending it back to the governor, who is expected to finalize it in late spring or early summer.