Governor Now Says UW May Not Get Entire Budget Increase


Governor Scott Walker and legislative Republicans may reduce a University of Wisconsin (UW) System budget increase, due to its cash surplus.

Walker had proposed that the UW get a $181 million budget increase over the next two years. He stood behind the plan as late as Monday of this week, after learning that the UW System has about a $650 million budget surplus. He mentioned, at the time, the possibility of freezing tuition for two years. Thursday, as Republican legislators raised more concerns about any increased spending for the university, the governor said that perhaps there should only be a $20 million increase, which would be linked to economic development efforts.

“The rest, I’d like to put as much as possible into the tuition freeze. The rest could be money for additional school aids, which is what we’re willing to do as long as they don’t take it out of higher taxes.”

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The UW has been arguing that of the $650 million surplus, $440 million is already committed to various projects and programs. Board of Regents member Jose Vasquez says some of the criticism of the UW System is unfair. “We’re not out of the range of what’s considered an acceptable surplus.”

Governor Walker agrees the UW should have some surplus funds, but no longer seems willing to give the university as much in the way of new money.