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State Relations Update (June 29)

June 29, 2009

Friday night, the Legislature completed their action on the state budget and the Governor signed the spending plan into law today. Because there were differences in the Assembly and Senate versions of the budget, a Conference Committee came together to iron out their difference and work with the Governor to finalize the deal prior to the veto review period. Over the weekend, the Governor decided his vetoes. The Governor’s veto message can be read at

The provisions of the budget important to UW–Madison that are signed into law today include:

  • Base budget reductions

    A $100 million cut over the biennium. The governor had proposed a $65 million cut in the first year and an additional $35 million in the second year. The Legislature’s Joint Finance Committee moved $15 million of the first year’s cut into the second year, making the cut in both years about $50 million. UW–Madison’s share of the reduction is $18.5 million per year.

  • 1 percent across-the-board reduction

    This reduction affects most of the UW System’s non-federal appropriations. The reduction does not apply to federal, gift or tuition funds. UW–Madison’s share of the reduction is $3.4 million for general-purpose revenue (GPR) funds and $2.3 million for program revenue (PR) funds per year.

  • 2 percent pay plan repeal

    The June 2009 pay plan increases were rescinded for all unclassified and nonrepresented classified staff. While unions representing the classified staff have not agreed to rescind this negotiated pay plan increase, the cut in each agency’s appropriation will be equal to the amount that would be derived if all employees, including the represented classified staff, were affected. The reduction does not apply to federal, gift or tuition funds. UW–Madison’s share of the reduction is $6.8 million in GPR funds and $2.4 million PR per year.

  • State employee furlough

    Employee furloughs of 16 days during the biennium represent a cut exceeding $30 million annually for the UW System. The reduction does not apply to federal, gift or tuition funds, but individuals paid by these funds are still expected to take those furlough days. UW–Madison’s share of the reduction is about $10.2 million GPR and $3.7 million PR per year.

  • Collective bargaining rights for faculty and academic staff

    The governor’s recommendation was approved, giving faculty and academic staff the right to vote to bargain collectively over wages, hours, and conditions of employment. A partial veto by the Governor would remove the provision that would allow for the Wisconsin Employment Relations Commission to assign faculty and staff to a collective bargaining unit.

  • Collective bargaining for research assistants

    A provision that allows research assistants (RAs)at UW–Madison, UW–Extension, UW–Milwaukee and the other four-year campuses to organize and bargain collectively under the State Employment Relations Act. The Governor partially vetoed the part of this provision that would specify that the RAs would could only organize as part of the TAA.

  • Recruitment and retention of high-demand faculty

    This fund contains $5 million in GPR and PR in the first year and $10 million in the second year.

  • Domestic partnership retirement and group insurance benefits

    These were approved as originally proposed by the governor and will be effective January 1, 2010.

  • Contract labor spending

    A provision was inserted to require each agency to provide, as part of its biennial budget request, the following: the number of contracted positions funded using base resources; base level funding provided to support contracted positions; the amount of funding requested for contracted positions; and the number of state-funded positions that would be required to perform the services under any new contract funding request. Also, it includes prohibition on contract hiring when hiring freezes or mandatory furloughs have been instituted. Also, it requires that agencies review their service contract practices for private personnel and report their findings on how they will achieve savings of 1 percent for the 2009–11 biennium. A report is due by Jan. 1, 2010 to the Joint Finance Committee.

  • Wisconsin Institute for Discovery

    Start-up funding of $8.2 million was approved as introduced in the budget.

  • Bioenergy Initiative

    Restore $220,000 that was removed by the Joint Finance Committee for the director of the Wisconsin Institute for Sustainable Technology at UW–Stevens Point. This restores the total Bioenergy Initiative budget from $7,780,000 to the originally requested $8 million.

  • Wisconsin Genomics Initiative

    The panel approved $2 million in general purpose revenue, as introduced, for the partnership between UW–Madison School of Medicine and Public Health, the Medical College of Wisconsin, UW–Milwaukee, and Marshfield Clinic.

  • Auxiliary reserves

    The committee transferred $23.25 million in program revenue to WHEG-UW. The governor had proposed a $25.0 million transfer. Also, language was inserted that specifies that no more than $3.5 million can be transferred from the reserves of any institution. UW–Madison’s share of the lapse is $2.2 million.

  • Sale of UW System Properties

    After the 2009–11 biennium, maintain the authority for the UW System to keep the proceeds from the sale of university property.

  • Environmental Program scholarships

    Reestimate the income and interest from the normal school fund and provide $200,000 to the UW System for environmental programs financial aid and scholarships.

  • Non-resident tuition for undocumented persons

    Allow an exemption from nonresident tuition for certain persons who are Wisconsin high school graduates and have applied for U.S. citizenship.

  • Conflict of interest for UW System employees

    Modify the law that would permit UW System employees with research companies to enter into contracts up to $250,000 with any UW System institution upon approval of the Board of Regents rather than the Attorney General. The previous cap was $75,000.

  • Wisconsin GI Bill

    Require veterans to use federal education benefits before using the state tuition and free remission program.

  • Building program

    The State Building Commission’s recommended list of projects for enumeration in 2009–11 was approved and includes the following projects at UW–Madison:

    • Utility Improvements
    • Gordon Commons Relocation, Parking and Offices
    • Lakeshore Residence Hall and Food Service
    • 21 North Park Street Office Building Purchase
    • West Campus Athletic Facilities
    • Ag Research Station Renovation, Phase 1
    • Kohl Center Hockey Facility Addition
    • Science Museum
    • Tandem Press Relocation
    • Wisconsin Institutes for Medical Research, Middle Tower
    • Charter Street Heating and Cooling Plant Renovation and Addition Wisconsin Energy Institute
    • Memorial Union
    • Planning funding for a future School of Nursing Facility

A copy of the plain language Legislative Fiscal Bureau comparative summary is also available online. The actual statutory language is available in three separate documents. Actual bill language does not include every section of the statutes, just the sections that are being modified, created or deleted.

This is the conference committee bill that both houses of the legislature passed…

Which amends this document passed by the Joint Committee on Finance…

Which was amended by this document in the Senate…

To decipher the budget bill, understand that the first and third document (page number and section references) refers to the second one. Let me know if you have any questions.

To help those interested in following what is happening at the capitol, I have established a Twitter account for State Relations. This can be followed by anyone with a Twitter account. If you choose to follow state relations on Twitter, you will receive updates on our activities to your account. To sign up for a Twitter account, go to These updates will continue to be posted at our State Relations site, and when that site is updated a message on Twitter will be sent out. I hope this will be a better way to inform those interested in state relations activities on a more regular basis. Please feel free to forward these updates to those in your units, schools and colleges. If you have any questions about the state relations effort on this or any other issue, please feel free to contact me.