The head of UW-Madison’s faculty lobbying group says signals indicating the Legislature is unlikely to reduce cuts to the UW System proposed by Gov. Scott Walker are not a responsible way to manage higher education in the state.
Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau) told WKOW 27 News Thursday that it is very unlikely the state Legislature will go out of its way to restore much of the $300 million cut to the UW System proposed in Gov. Scott Walker's 2015-17 state budget.
"I think with the out-of-state and the graduate student tuition increases that the Regents implemented there probably seems to be even less of a commitment to backfill that," Fitzgerald said.
Professor Grant Petty, president of PROFS, told 27 News: "I wonder how many private sector business leaders would see this as a responsible way to manage such a large and complex organization, especially one that generates more tax revenue for the state than it gets back from the state."
Gov. Scott Walker this week said revenue projections due for release on May 4 will not be as optimistic as previously projected. Bother Walker and Fitzgerald made it clear that any revenue increases would first be used to restore $127 million in cuts proposed for K-12 public education. Fitzgerald said if there is any extra revenue left over, he would like to restore funding to the Department of Transportation to reduce borrowing for road construction.
And it looks like the budget-making Joint Finance Committee won’t discuss UW System funding proposals until after those revenue projections are in hand. Committee co-chair Rep, John Nygren, R-Marinette, confirmed that this week, PROFS reported in a Facebook post Friday.
The UW System cuts don’t seem to be a priority so far. In three sessions in the past several weeks, Joint Finance has talked about the Supreme Court and circuit courts, health services, medical assistance, Historical Society, insurance, lottery, military affairs, natural resources, Public Service Commission, Secretary of State, tourism, transportation, veterans affairs and Wisconsin Technical Colleges, PROFS reports. No UW.
“PROFS continues to meet with legislators, including members of the Joint Finance Committee, advocating for the best possible budget for UW-Madison faculty,” the group reports.