College Drop-out and Governor of Wisconsin Scott Walker (R)
Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker (R) wants to give his state's university system more autonomy over how it budgets the funds it receives. Each campus would be given jurisdiction over how it plans for available courses, professors, and building projects.
Governor Walker also wants to cut the University of Wisconsin's budget by $300 million over the next two years.
what eye thynk: Mr. Walker would like the people of Wisconsin to believe that this cut is necessary in order to cover an unexpected state budget shortfall. He would also like people to believe that this shortfall has nothing to do with the tax cuts he and his Republican legislature passed over the past few years.
The governor's office said this UW budget cut can be covered by eliminating "waste." One possible method to staunch what the Governor sees as the university system's profligacy may be the closing of some campuses, though there are no plans to do so "at this time." (How nice.)
Another cost cutting idea is the rethinking of tenured professorships. Currently, state law prohibits the dismissal of tenured professors--which, really, is the whole point of tenure. By removing that state sanction and putting the decision on how to handle tenure under each campus' autonomous rule, that protection--which is most often given only to the best professors--individual campuses could decide to save money by eliminating those who are the most experienced and may be more highly paid: tenured professors.
Other probable ways to reduce "waste" would be the elimination of some student services, a cut in the number of graduate teaching assistants, fewer course offerings and larger class sizes.
University of Wisconsin Chancellor Rebecca Blank said "I appreciate the opportunity for additional flexibility and management efficiencies that a public authority might bring, and would work hard to implement these effectively on our campus. It would be challenging, however, to engage in a major reorganization while also coping with a large budget cut." The cuts, she added, "would have a harmful impact on our students and their educational experience."
And where, you may ask, does the Governor propose to use the money he will be saving on university costs? Funny you should ask. Further down in the Wisconsin state budget released by Mr. Walker this past week is an item proposing the state use $220 million of its taxpayers' money to build a new stadium for the Milwaukee Bucks.
Yes, that's right, Governor Scott (I-Want-To-Be-President-of-the-United-States) Walker proposes cutting $300 million from education so he can gift $220 million to a basketball franchise. The franchise owners have said they will make $150 million of their personal fortune available to help pay for their new building.
May I say how unimpressed I am by that?
Building estimates were originally quoted as $450-500 million; but more recent estimates quote "at least" $500 million. There is no word on where the additional $130 million is supposed to come from, but I'm sure Mr. Walker can find a police, fireman or teachers' union in Wisconsin whose members are overpaid, receive too many benefits and earn pensions that are too generous where cuts can be made in order to make it possible for a billionaire sports owner to provide his multi-millionaire players with a pretty locker room.
Governor Walker claims that the players, team employees and visiting teams will generate sufficient income to cover payments on the $220 million in state bonds. "There's absolute security for the taxpayers. No new taxes, no drawing on existing revenues, no exposure to the future."
Where have we heard that before? And I guess we're supposed to forget about the draw on existing revenues that will no longer be available for Wisconsin's young people who were hoping for a university education.
I applaud the Dropkick Murphys, an American Celtic punk rock band, (I'm still trying to figure out how that amalgam works), for telling Governor Scott Walker to stop using their music at his campaign events. Their message: "We literally hate you."
If this budget passes, there will be thousands of University of Wisconsin students and their families who feel the same way.