I have responded to Secretary Lightbourn’s letter regarding the University of Wisconsin System budget this afternoon. The budget that was passed by our Board of Regents on August 25 is an investment plan for the state. Its development took seven months of work and countless hours of consultation, not only with the state but also with our institutions’ constituent groups and communities. The budget request, for a 3.7% (GPR/fees) increase per year, addresses the Governor’s stated priorities of workforce development, teacher preparation and technology transfer.

At the same time, we are very aware of the state’s fiscal constraints and appreciate that the Governor is faced with tough choices for the future. We have laid out a menu of choices in areas in which the university can deliver real growth dividends for Wisconsin. As an educator, I believe that students are the best investment in the future that our state can make. As an economist, I believe that when fiscal times are tough the best remedy is to grow the state’s economy. That is the aim of our budget request.

It is early in the budget process, and state revenue projections are a moving target; our budget is designed to provide a range of options – the Governor and legislature will determine what the state ultimately can afford.