Prepared Remarks for Regent President Guy Gottschalk
Board of Regents meeting
At this time, I’d like to turn our attention to President Lyall, who has prepared an update for the board on how the UW System is managing and preparing for the next tough budget.
The state Department of Administration recently reported that Wisconsin’s budget deficit will likely reach $2.6 billion dollars over the next two years. Governor-elect Doyle has predicted that the deficit could be as high as $4.3 billion dollars. No matter what the figure turns out to be, the UW System must be prepared to make some tough choices and to offer innovative solutions.
As we consider our situation here in Wisconsin, it is important to note that some of our neighbors are also dealing with unprecedented budget problems. According to recent reports, the state of Minnesota is facing a $3 billion dollar shortfall, the deficit in Illinois could reach $2.5 billion dollars, and a $400 million dollar deficit is expected in the state of Iowa, where the Board of Regents recently raised tuition by 18.5 percent to offset budget cuts.
As our state lawmakers work to solve the fiscal crisis in Wisconsin, we encourage them to make targeted investments that can help the state’s economy quickly recover. The UW System is a proven economic engine for the state, and must be an important part of the solution to Wisconsin’s fiscal problems. However, the state’s deficit is unprecedented, and we must be prepared for tough times ahead.
At last month’s meeting, we responded to the DOA “95% exercise” by noting that a cut of 5 percent to the UW System budget could mean losses of almost $50 million dollars, nearly 1,000 faculty and staff, and reduced enrollments of almost 8,000 students. We asked President Lyall to report back to us today on: how systemwide admissions are proceeding for next Fall; what choices our campuses made to handle the $44 million in cuts this Fall; and how public universities in other states are managing cuts. We need to learn what we can from other states as we confront these uncertain times. President Lyall …