2013-15 Biennial Budget

Governor Scott Walker delivered his budget address last night with few surprises. Most of the budget details had been released to the press over the past ten days. A transcript of the budget speech is here, and video is here. The bill in its entirety is here.

Walker is increasing the University of Wisconsin System budget by $181 million over the biennium, almost half of it in the form of a flexible block grant, and response to the proposal has been positive. Chancellor David Ward issued a statement last night saying that the budget was one of the best in many recent cycles:

“While the university will have to confront many challenges, that task becomes much more manageable when we are not heading into the future with a ready-made deficit. I applaud the governor for recognizing the need to re-establish the state’s partnership in funding quality higher education in Wisconsin.”

UW System leaders had praise for the budget, too. President Kevin Reilly noted the role that the university plays in economic development across the state:

“Governor Walker recognizes and appreciates the role that UW institutions play in boosting our state’s economy. Job creation and workforce development are top priorities for everyone, including the UW System. We look forward to working with all legislators from both parties to advance this budget.”

Major Budget Provisions
Biennial GPR
Incentive Grant Fund for new UW initiatives that boost economic development and workforce development
$20 million
Startup funding to launch innovative UW Flexible Option degree programs
$2 million
Funding to preserve and expand access and quality in the UW System, provided in a flexible “block grant”
$89.4 million
Full funding of ongoing fringe benefits, facility leases, and normal inflationary costs
$20.8 million
Debt service funding for previously approved UW construction and renovation projects
$42.4 million
Funds to expand the Wisconsin Academy for Rural Medicine (WARM) and Training in Urban Medicine and Public Health (TRIUMPH) programs at UW-Madison’s School of Medicine and Public Health
$3 million
One-time aid for UW Carbone Cancer Center at the UW Hospitals and Clinics, to accelerate development of molecular imaging technology
$3.75 million
$181.35 million