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Lyall makes case for budget

September 7, 2000

The UW System president explains a recent request for a budget increase as an important investment for the state economy.

President Katharine Lyall responded to a letter she received from state Administration Secretary George Lightbourn asking that she prepare her budget request “in anticipation of severe fiscal restraints.” The UW System has requested a $180 million increase over the next two years for an effort school officials say will step up the school’ s role in the high tech economy.

The UW System budget request is being considered by the Department of Administration as part of the governor’s next budget plan. The budget request includes $28 million ($18.2 million in state funding and $9.8 million in student fees) for UW–Madison for the second half of the Madison Initiative. UW–Madison is requesting the additional $28 million to broaden student learning programs, maintain affordability for students, enhance Wisconsin’s economic development and continue the strategic hiring of new faculty.

The Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF) and the UW Foundation would again match the state and student contribution with $20 million over the next two years. WARF and the UW Foundation will continue to contribute $10 million per year thereafter.

Here is Lyall’s statement to media on the budget request:

“I have responded to Secretary Lightbourn’s letter regarding the University of Wisconsin System budget this afternoon. The budget that was passed by our Board of Regents on August 25 is an investment plan for the state. Its development took seven months of work and countless hours of consultation, not only with the state but also with our institutions’ constituent groups and communities. The budget request, for a 3.7 (GPR/fees) increase per year, addresses the governor’s stated priorities of workforce development, teacher preparation and technology transfer.

“At the same time, we are very aware of the state’s fiscal constraints and appreciate that the Governor is faced with tough choices for the future. We have laid out a menu of choices in areas in which the university can deliver real growth dividends for Wisconsin. As an educator, I believe that students are the best investment in the future that our state can make. As an economist, I believe that when fiscal times are tough the best remedy is to grow the state’s economy. That is the aim of our budget request.

“It is early in the budget, and state revenue projections are a moving target; our budget is designed to provide a range of options-the Governor and legislature will determine what the state ultimately can afford. ”