“This once elusive compromise is clearly the product of hard work and effective leadership. We applaud the persistence of Governor Doyle, Representative Huebsch, Senator Robson and other fair-minded leaders, as news of this agreement brings welcomed reassurance for students, parents, faculty, and staff across the state.
“Legislators from both parties deserve credit, but it was Governor Doyle’s effort to jump-start the negotiations that put us in a position to set aside budget-cutting contingency plans to focus again on job-growing educational strategies. By providing increased funding for the WHEG program, as originally proposed by Governor Doyle, this budget sends relief to thousands of students who enrolled this year not knowing if they would receive their financial aid. By moving forward with new academic facilities on UW campuses, this budget recognizes the financial commitments already made by private donors.
“Republican and Democratic support for this plan shows that investing in higher education is a universal concern. Leaders from both parties are heeding the call of taxpayers who want the state to advance strategies that increase wages, create new jobs, and contribute to a prosperous economy. The UW System’s Growth Agenda for Wisconsin is such a strategy.
“To arrive at this bipartisan budget, state leaders had to make important compromises on revenues and expenditures, and a shared sacrifice from all state agencies will be required to make it work. For its part, the UW System will face the challenge of implementing the Growth Agenda while managing annual budget lapses of about $12.5 million. Our system and campus leaders will commit to these and other challenges. We will work closely with state government to cover this gap in a manner that preserves essential services to students and communities, while giving all taxpayers the return-on-investment they demand from their public university.
“Again, we appreciate the strong leadership that led to this long-awaited budget. When our senators and representatives ratify this bipartisan agreement, they will send a clear message to constituents that higher education is again a high priority in Wisconsin.”