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Chancellor’s update on the state budget process

January 28, 2011

I hope the new semester has gotten off to a good start for all of you –
that you’re settled in, enjoying your classes, making good progress on
your research and outreach, and feeling good about the work you do in
support of this great university. As you know, this is a budget year.
There will be a great deal of activity in the state Capitol during the next
several weeks and months. The uncertainty about the extent of possible
budget cuts and their impact is a source of anxiety for the entire
community. I hope the governor will propose flexibilities in a form
that will give us new tools for addressing the difficult economic and
budget environment. I know how difficult the uncertainty is. I
appreciate your patience, and I look forward to your input as we learn
more about the realities we face.

Let me review some of the steps in the process.

We will have a better sense of Gov. Walker’s priorities when he gives
his State of the State speech on Feb. 1, and we will learn even more
when he introduces his recommended budget for the next two years,
expected on Feb. 22. I hope that many of the ideas put forward in
the New Badger Partnership will have been embraced by Gov. Walker and
will also be supported by the Legislature. This is a critical time in
the history of higher education, in the university and in the state,
and we need new tools to deal effectively with our role.

Once Gov. Walker introduces his budget, it will go to the state
Legislature for consideration. In the early spring, the Legislature’s
Joint Finance Committee will take testimony from state residents on
priorities for the budget. We will continue to promote discussion on
and off campus as well during that time. There are forums scheduled on
campus for March 1 and 2 to talk about budget issues and the New
Badger Partnership.

Also in the spring, the Joint Finance Committee will work through the
budget and take votes on each provision before sending it on to the
full Assembly and Senate for approval.

Gov. Walker will have the final say on the budget and could use his
veto powers to make changes to the document before it goes into effect
on July 1.

Throughout the process, there will be opportunities for you to express
your thoughts and perspectives, both to me and other UW–Madison
officials, as well as the governor and your state representatives.

I encourage you to stay up to date on the budget developments as they
unfold. We have several tools available to help you stay current,
including a website devoted to the UW–Madison budget. Among the resources on the site is a link to a Legislative Fiscal Bureau paper with more details about the budget process. Updates on the New Badger Partnership can be found here.

Thank you for all the things you do for UW–Madison. I hope the
enjoyment of your work, your studies, your play and your community far
outstrips the anxiety that uncertainty can bring.

Chancellor Biddy Martin

Tags: budget