First of all, in order to fully fund Governor Walker's plans to expand veterans remission to children and the spouses of deceased or disabled Veterans. This will allow UW students to claim remissions as long as those people have lived in the state for at least 5 straight years (not necessarily a “resident” when that person entered the service, but the problem is that the funding is insufficient in the budget bill, and so $6.47 million is needed the full pay for the remissions for children and spouses of deceased or disabled Veterans, ).
Side note, the amount budgeted for remissions hasn’t been changed since 2009, just under $6.5 million a year.
Second, Turns out that Gov Walker's proposed 5% cut of tuition is more costly than what Scotty anticipated.
2.The Governor's budget would provide $35 million GPR in 2018-19 to fund the proposed tuition reduction. Based on data provided by the UW System, it is estimated that a 1% reduction in resident undergraduate tuition could result in a decrease in tuition revenues of $8.4 million. Based on this estimate, a 5% reduction in resident undergraduate tuition in 2018-19 could reduce UW System tuition revenues by $42 million in that year.Also, remember that Walker's self-insurance scheme was going to get so much savings that it would pay for much of a 2% increase for UW employees in 2018 and 2019. Now that the Joint Finance Committee has indicated they won't go along with self-insurance, there needs to be nearly $30 million added to the budget to make up the difference.
3. If the Committee approves the reduction in resident undergraduate tuition and wishes to fully fund that reduction, the Committee could increase the GPR funding provided to the UW System in 2018-19 by $7.5 million. Alternatively, the Committee could reduce the amount by which resident undergraduate tuition would be decreased such that it would be fully funded by the $35 million provided in the bill. It is estimated that $35 million would offset the estimated decrease in tuition revenues resulting from a 4.2% reduction in resident undergraduate tuition.
DOA has estimated that the GPR-funded fringe benefit costs for UW employees could increase by $9,979,500 in 2017-18 and $15,429,300 in 2018-19. In addition, the Governor has proposed providing 2% salary increases for all state employees, including UW System employees, on September 30, 2018, and May 26, 2019. It is estimated that the GPR portion of these salary increases for UW System employees would total $15,794,500 in 2018-19. The bill would specify that the Board of Regents could not request any funds from the state's compensation reserve during the 2017-19 biennium to fund compensation and fringe benefit costs. Instead, the bill would provide $126,500 GPR in 2017-18 and $11,517,900 GPR in 2018-19 through the UW System's GPR general program operations appropriation to fund these costs. These amounts are equal to the estimated cost of the GPR portion of salary and fringe benefit increases less the estimated GPR savings to the UW System of the state self-insuring for employee health benefits ($9,853,000 in 2017-18 and $19,705,900 in 2018-19).Seems like a sensible trade to get rid of the $35 mil (under)budgeted for the 5% tuition decrease and pay for the proposed UW salary increases, doesn’t it? Let's see if that's carried out.
And lastly, state grants for financial aid are also underfunded. Walker wants a minor increase, but it’s not enough. The LFB says that increasing the Wisconsin Grants back to 2009 levels would be an increase of $2.76 million above the budget. And if the Joint Finance Committee turnsdown the 5% tuition decrease and then puts in the difference to Wisconsin Grants, that’s $9.72 million.
Keep an eye on a number of these items tomorrow, in addition to the regular UW budget. Looks like we need to find some place for extra money, or we will see more students left out.