The Joint Finance Committee will consider Governor Scott Walker’s budget proposal to allow the sale of state-owned property tomorrow. A full list of Tuesday’s discussion topics is here. The Legislative Fiscal Bureau analysis of the proposal, Budget Paper #161, is here.
Walker’s plan could result in the sale of state-owned power plants, highways, prisons, and University of Wisconsin System buildings. Current law forbids the State Building Commission from selling property under the jurisdiction of the UW System Board of Regents, but does allow for the sale of some state property. In those cases, however, the Building Commission must receive approval from the affected state agency before proceeding with the sale.
The governor’s proposal would give the Department of Administration and State Building Commission the authority to sell state-owned property and choose how to use the proceeds. The affected agency would not necessarily see the proceeds from such a sale.
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports that influential supporters of the University of Wisconsin System are opposed to the plan, saying it could seriously hamper the fundraising efforts that have been essential to building projects on campus. Milwaukee businessman and philanthropist Sheldon Lubar, a former Regent, had this to say:
“I think it’s foolish, mindless and will have a very chilling effect on fundraising. I really don’t think (Walker) thought this through and understands the negative impact this would have on the university.”