Wisconsin Idea Partnership

Statement from Wausau Chamber of Commerce

April 8, 2011

Logo of Wausau Chamber of Commerce

Faced with the challenge of trimming budgets by more than $250 million over the next two years, all University of Wisconsin System institutions need new managerial flexibilities to preserve educational quality and maintain broad college access. The Wausau Region Chamber of Commerce endorses a new proposal that provides that type of flexibility-the Wisconsin Idea Partnership.

Under the plan, each local UW campus would have new statutory authority in budgeting, tuition, human resources, capital planning, purchasing and other functions. Regents want the new framework to include specific performance measures, building upon the UW System's annual accountability reports.

What does this mean for businesses? Since the proposal will diffuse procurement powers, this gives each UW System campus the right to decide which business will best fit their needs-in product availability, service and price. That business could be yours.

Summary of Proposal to Provide Management Flexibilities for All University of Wisconsin System Institutions

The primary purpose of the Wisconsin Idea Partnership is to advance the Wisconsin Idea by providing the maximum flexibility to all University of Wisconsin Chancellors to lead their institutions in the most effective and efficient manner possible, for the benefit of their students, faculty, and staff and local communities. To accomplish this, the UW System proposes amending the proposed 2011-13 biennial budget bill to provide all UW campuses and UW-Extension with new management flexibilities within the current Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System governance structure. These statutory flexibilities are necessary to ensure all UW institutions can operate more efficiently and effectively, with the tools to manage significant budget cuts and compete effectively for outside resources, and attract high quality students, faculty and staff.

This Wisconsin Idea Partnership provides UW-Madison with all the operational flexibilities proposed by Governor Walker, but within a unified system framework. This option avoids the creation of a new public authority that would separate UW-Madison from all other UW institutions. By preserving existing law that governs UW institutions, this straightforward approach addresses many concerns about student, faculty and staff shared governance, student access, tuition rates, academic freedom in teaching and research and the appointment of a new and separate governing board.

If this language is included in the 2011-13 budget, the Board of Regents will delegate these new management flexibilities to the UW campuses and UW-Extension to the fullest extent possible, while ensuring transparency and appropriate levels of Board oversight and public accountability.

The Wausau Region Chamber of Commerce, an accredited four-star chamber, is the source for business information in the Wausau Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA). We strengthen member businesses and enhance the region by building business success. For more information on The Wausau Region Chamber of Commerce, visit www.wausauchamber.com or call (715) 845-6231.