UW to cut spending

November 6, 2001

The UW System will not be subject to the hiring freeze imposed on other areas of state government to combat the recent economic downturn.

Instead, the system will return an estimated $5 million of its budget — the amount the state would have saved with a university hiring freeze — to the state’s general fund. The cut provides one-half of the $10 million the hiring freeze is expected to save statewide.

The freeze, announced Thursday by Gov. Scott McCallum, is meant to begin addressing a projected state budget shortfall of anywhere from $300 million to $1.3 billion during the 2001-2003 budget cycle.

The governor’s move freezes all vacant, nonessential state government positions, with the exception of safety, public health and university jobs.

“The governor recognizes that freezing jobs on campuses would impact student learning, research and economic stimulus programs,” UW–Madison Provost Peter Spear says. “All of those things will be important parts of this state’s economic recovery.”

The $5 million includes a $2.7 million overall budget cut and an estimated $2.3 million reimbursement to the state for utility costs.

UW–Madison expects to pay $1,033,366 of the budget cut as well as a portion of the utility costs. Spear says a one-time cut can be made without reducing academic services on campus.

“We are appreciative that the governor has given us the flexibility to manage the budget cuts ourselves,” Spear says. “The cuts will mean administrative cutbacks and delays, but direct student services activities will not be cut.”

Soon, the governor and Legislature will begin crafting a budget adjustment bill that will attempt to balance state spending with the latest budget projections. McCallum says all areas of the state budget will be on the table during those discussions.

“The administration was able to absorb the one-time cut,” Spear says. “But permanent cuts that are equal to or greater than the first cut are likely to affect all units on campus.”