Lapses Hit UW System Especially Hard

Thursday, October 20, 2011 at 10:13 PM by

The UW System will bear the lion’s share of new budget cuts announced recently by the Wisconsin Department of Administration. The cuts were included in the 2011-13 budget but the allocation of the cuts were not specified until last week. Of the $174.3 million in cuts that will lapse money to the General Fund, $65.8 million comes from the UW System over the next two years. This cut comes on top of a $250 million budget cut dealt to the UW System in the biennial budget.

Most other state agencies must also make additional cuts, but the ones made to the UW System are disproportionately large. For example, state GPR spending on corrections is slightly higher than on the UW System, yet the lapse from the Department of Corrections is only about one-fifth the size of the one from the UW System. Along those same lines, in this Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel article, a UW System spokesperson points out that the UW System accounts for about 7 percent of GPR spending but is subject to 38 percent of the cuts.

Other state agencies with the next largest lapses over the next biennium are:

  • Department of Health Services: $26.6 million. None of the cuts come from the Medicaid program.
  • Department of Corrections, $13.4 million
  • Department of Children and Families, $11.7 million
  • Department of Administration, $11.3 million

A few agencies were protected from cuts, including school aids, higher education financial aid, technical colleges, and certain correctional programs, in addition to Medicaid.

In addition to the $174.3 million lapses, agencies will be required to lapse $30.9 million to roll back the 2 percent raise state employees received in 2009, and an additional $82.5 million related to employee compensation changes, elimination of long-term vacant positions, and across-the-board reductions.

Secretary of DOA Mike Huebsch has warned state agencies that they should be ready for larger lapses, totaling $300 million over two years.(The $300 million in lapses would be instead of the $174.3 million already announced, not in addition to that amount.) The higher level of cuts would go into effect if revenue amounts are forecasted to be lower than the level assumed in the budget.

Tamarine Cornelius

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