Tag: Scott Walker

State’s Revenue Projections Down

The Wisconsin Department of Revenue announced last week that nearly all state tax collections were down for the month compared to May 2013 (see chart below).

Corporate tax collections fell the most (20.2 percent), while income tax collections fell by 5.5 percent. State sales tax collections were up just .2 percent. Overall tax collections were down 2.5 percent for May and .4 percent year-to-date.

According to Wisconsin Public Radio, the Legislative Fiscal Bureau predicted earlier this year tax collections would increase by about 1 percent. As a result of those projections, Governor Scott Walker announced he would implement income and property tax cuts, citing a surplus of more than $900 million. Now, the state could end the year with $200 million less than predicted if collections continue to fall below projections.

Revenue projections May 2014

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on Additional Two-Year Tuition Freeze

The editorial board of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel offered its opinion on Governor Walker’s proposal to extend the current tuition freeze for two additional years. University of Wisconsin System campuses are currently in the first year of a two-year tuition freeze implemented as part of the 2013-15 biennial budget.

The editorial notes that continuing the freeze will be popular with students and their families, but seems opportunistic in an election year. The freeze also raises important questions about how the state intends to fund UW System in the future:

Wisconsin students deserve affordability, but they also deserve a quality education — the kind of education the system has provided throughout its history. And a quality system requires quality faculty, staff and research facilities. Which, in turn, means paying competitive salaries and providing adequate funding for those facilities.

UW System President Ray Cross told the Journal Sentinel last week that he thought an additional one-year tuition freeze might be possible given current financial reserves, but a two-year freeze was unexpected. The editorial concludes that a one-year freeze with greater management flexibilities might have made more sense:

That strikes us as the more prudent option, unless the state is willing to come up with additional funding for the university to maintain affordability and quality for students. What the universities need is greater flexibility from state control — not more, mindless, politicized control. As we asked earlier: What sort of university system does the state want? Let your governor and legislators know.

Your opinion is important. Information on how to contact the governor or your legislators is here.

Governor Walker Proposes Additional 2-Year Tuition Freeze

Governor Scott Walker announced Friday morning that he would propose an additional two-year freeze on University of Wisconsin System tuition. The governor said his proposal was a direct result of the recent disclosure that UW System will finish the fiscal year with about $1 billion in reserve. Last year, the governor called for a two-year tuition freeze after the university was found to have just over $1 billion in reserve.

The governor’s plan came as a surprise as the UW System Board of Regents met for a second day in a regularly scheduled meeting. UW System President Ray Cross responded quickly, saying that he will continue his work with the governor and legislature while thoughtfully and judiciously managing and explaining UW System resources. Cross told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel he had discussed the possibility of a one-year extension of the tuition freeze with the governor’s staff about a month ago, but the conversation had been casual.

The Regent Audit Committee and Budget and Finance Committee met Thursday morning and revealed cash balance projections for FY 2013-14. UW System will finish the year with almost $1.1 billion in reserve, about half coming from tuition.

UW System officials say that about 80 percent of the funds are committed on some level (see below). UW-Madison’s share of the reserve is about $600 million, and Cross told the Journal Sentinel that UW-Madison is among the handful of campuses that could survive three to four years on cash balances without implementing major budget cuts.

fy 2013-14 reserves

Walker Appoints Three New Regents

Governor Scott Walker named three new members to the University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents last week. The governor appointed José Delgado and Eve Hall to replace outgoing Regents John Drew and Gary Roberts. Delgado and Hall will serve seven year terms beginning May 1.

Walker also appointed UW-La Crosse student Anicka Purath to complete the two-year traditional student term. Regent Chad Landes is graduating from UW-Platteville in May and will leave the board early.

José Delgado retired as president and CEO of the American Transmission Company, a Wisconsin-based utility company, in 2010. He earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in electrical engineering from Marquette University and an MBA from UW-Milwaukee. Delgado is vice chairman of Hispanics for School Choice advisory board.

Eve Hall is president of the African American Chamber of Commerce of Greater Milwaukee. Previously she served as chief innovation officer for the Thurgood Marshall College Fund and was national director of the Gates/Marshall School Redesign Initiative. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Florida A&M University, a master’s degree in educational leadership from UW-Milwaukee, and a doctorate in education from Cardinal Stritch University.

Anicka Purath is a sophomore from Mount Pleasant. She is a sophomore majoring in political science.

Regent appointments are subject to state senate confirmation. The governor appoints 16 citizens, including two students, to the 18 member board. The State Superintendent of Public Instruction and president of the Wisconsin Technical College System Board serve as ex officio members.

State of the State: Governor Walker to Propose Tax Cuts

Governor Scott Walker

Governor Scott Walker

Governor Scott Walker will offer more details about his proposed $504 million tax cut in his State of the State address at 7 pm this evening. The speech will be broadcast live on public radio and television, with audio stream and video stream available online.

The governor plans to utilize part of the $912 million budget surplus to lower state income and property taxes. The Legislative Fiscal Bureau announced last week that tax collections are expected to exceed initial projections, allowing for a surplus at the end of the 2013-15 biennium.

Some details have already become public:

  • A property tax cut of about $101 on a $150,000 home, Wisconsin’s median home value
  • An income tax cut of $44 to $58 for each tax filer
  • A change in tax policy that would result in the state no longer withholding more income taxes than actually owed, resulting in about $58 more per month per family

The governor’s plan adds $100 million to the state’s rainy day fund, but raises the structural deficit by about $100 million to $725 million at the end of the biennium.

Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester) indicated broad support of the plan among Assembly Republicans: “Our caucus is united behind the idea of having it go to property tax relief and income tax relief.”

Democrats and Senate Republicans, however, have expressed concern. Senate President Mike Ellis (R-Neenah) and Senator Dale Schultz (R-Richland Center) both have said the would like to pay down structural deficit while Senate Minority Leader Chris Larson (D-Milwaukee) and Assembly Minority Leader Peter Barca (D-Kenosha) told reporters they would like to fund gaps in Medicaid and W-2 before implementing tax cuts.

Governor to Deliver State of the State January 22

Governor Scott Walker will deliver his fourth State of the State address at 7 pm on Wednesday, January 22. Walker, who is running for re-election in November, will likely outline his legislative priorities for the remainder of his term and may offer hints about his campaign against Democrat Mary Burke.

PROFS will post links to live video and audio streams of the speech when they become available.


Regent Meeting Update

The University of Wisconsin Board of Regents met in Madison last Thursday and Friday, December 5 and 6. Governor Scott Walker addressed the full board Thursday afternoon. Walker told the Regents that he continues to support plans to offer the…

Walker Names Three to Board of Regents

Governor Scott Walker announced three new appointees to the University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents yesterday. The governor appointed former Lieutenant Governor Margaret Farrow and former state auditor Janice Meuller to replace outgoing Regent Jeffrey Bartell and Regent President…

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…

2013-15 Biennial Budget Address

Governor Scott Walker is scheduled to deliver his biennial budget address at 7 pm tonight, Wednesday, February 20, in the State Capitol Assembly Chambers. The address will be streamed live on WisconsinEye. Audio will be available on Wisconsin Public Radio…