Governor Walker Signs Budget Bill; Uses 50 Vetoes

Governor Scott Walker signed the 2011-13 biennial budget into law in Green Bay yesterday, using his powerful line-item veto 50 times. Details about the vetoes began trickling out of the Capitol on Friday and continued over the weekend. The $66 billion budget slashes more than $1 billion from education and aid to local government, but leaves the state with a surplus of $300 million at the end of the biennium.

Provisions that affect the university and its employees:

WiscNet The removal of Joint Finance Committee oversight over the effective date of rules prohibiting UW System involvement in the telecommunications industry, because “there is no need to delay the prohibitions beyond July 1, 2013.”

UW-Madison autonomy The elimination of Board of Regent review and approval of UW-Madison’s new personnel system plans, pay plans, and labor agreements because, “these plans will already require approval from the Joint Committee on Employment Relations.” The governor also said in prepared remarks that “removing this level of approval will give the state’s flagship campus the level of autonomy it needs to successfully compete in the global higher education environment.”

Pension benefits A partial veto of a provision relating to pension benefits for public employees. The governor used a line-item veto to require public employees to work for five years before qualifying for pension benefits. The budget had originally been written to allow for workers to become gradually vested over five years.