Walker’s UW proposal dead in Legislature, cuts debated

Walker’s UW proposal dead in Legislature, cuts debated

Co-chairs of the Legislature’s budget committee say an agreement has been reached in the Senate and Assembly not to move forward with Gov. Scott Walker’s proposal to give the University of Wisconsin more independence from state law and oversight.

The lawmakers declared the proposal dead on Tuesday. Lawmakers for weeks have been saying it was unlikely to pass.

Sen. Alberta Darling, R-River Hills, and Rep. John Nygren also reiterated their support for lowering the $300 million budget cut Walker proposed to go along with giving UW more independence. But Darling and Nygren aren’t saying yet how much that may be reduced.

“I think it’s important to know that everybody is concerned about the UW System and the cuts, and we want to make sure, at least John and I want to make sure, that there are flexibilities that go along with those cuts, so that’s something we’ll be working with the finance committee on to see if we can put that forward on the table,” Darling said.

Lawmakers are waiting for new estimates on tax collections due any day that will determine how much additional money is available to be spent.

The UW System released a statement Tuesday saying they appreciate the co-chairs’ willingness to work to reduce the proposed cut and provide more flexibilities.

UW System President Ray Cross has said he’d like a dedicated funding stream, the ability to create their own pay plans, and purchasing and construction flexibility.

Lawmakers said they are considering all of those options.