On Monday afternoon, I had the opportunity to join my UW-River Falls and UW-Eau Claire colleagues and meet with eight of our local legislators to impress upon them the seriousness of the state budget cut we are facing.
I think we made a positive impression. Both Democrats and Republicans said they appreciated the information we presented about what previous cuts have meant for the campuses and the UW System and the tremendous challenges Gov. Walker’s $300 million proposed cut for 2015-17 would pose for our institutions. No legislator at the meeting, hosted by UW-Eau Claire, said they supported a cut of that magnitude. In fact, one legislator, a Republican, asked all three chancellors to make sure they tell whatever audience they are speaking to that this is the governor’s budget proposal and not the Legislature’s.
I plan to have many more meetings of this kind, as will members of my staff, to ensure that we keep reinforcing the message that the proposed cut — $5.8 million for UW-Stout in 2015-16, according to the Legislative Fiscal Bureau — is too big.
Regardless of the level of the reduction, we will convene a series of forums to discuss the budget and how to proceed in planning for the anticipated cut. We will prepare initial estimates of specific budget impact information for each unit on campus as soon as we can, keeping in mind that the budget situation in Madison is very fluid. Please keep reading the daily email and go to http://www.uwstout.edu/statebudget/ to keep updated on our budget situation.