The Walker budget and the State Building Commission only accepted $223 million of $542 million of requested non-UW building projects. The capital budget information from the Legislative Fiscal Bureau has this interesting tidbit on the cost of NOT paying for these projects in the 2017-19 budget.
4. The cost estimating guidelines provided by the Department of Administration's Division of Facilities Development for 2017-19 capital budget requests directed state agencies to use a cost escalator of 2.0% every six months through July, 2021. Using these cost escalators, delaying $319.3 million of project costs by two years would increase these projects' costs by $24.7 million by the beginning of the 2019-21 biennium, assuming that all of these projects would be built.What’s odd about this recent budget is that most of those new buildings that are requested are NOT part of the UW System. In fact, the UW System makes up less than half of the proportion of cost of new facilities in this budget vs the previous 10 years.
5. Table 3 compares the total amount of capital projects enumerated for administrative agencies in the five most recent biennial budgets compared to total projects requested by administrative agencies. As shown, the 2017-19 state building program would fund 41.2% of the funding amount requested for major projects, which is the third lowest percentage compared to the previous five biennia. Although the Building Commission recommended the lowest level of new general obligation borrowing for the 2015-17 biennium, the 2015-17 state building program applied previously authorized general obligation borrowing, which comprised the majority of the $186.2 million of total funding for that biennium.
UW project enumerations as % of total capital budget
2007-09 $659.0 mil of $900.0 mil (73.2%)
2009-11 $931.0 mil of $1,196.9 mil (77.8%)
2011-13 $420.5 mil of $601.2 mil (69.9%)
2013-15 $703.8 mil of $1,128.9 mil (62.3%)
2015-17 $451.9 mil of $716.3 mil (63.1%)
2017-19 $128.3 mil of $397.8 mil (32.2%)
Flipped on its head, the cost of non-UW capital projects is similar to what we’ve seen over the last decade (it’s 2nd out of the 6 biennia in total cost, but in line with ’07-’09, ’09-’11 and ’15-’17 when adjusted for inflation). By comparison, the cost of enumerated UW projects is 69% to 86% less than ANY biennium...before inflation.
Even stranger is that Walker and the Building Commission don’t even want the UW to be able to use self-generating money for projects. These include facilities like dorms or student unions or athletic facilities that are funded through student fees along with everyday transactions that go on at those facilities (yes, in theory, each beer you have at the Terrace helps pay for the recent remodeling). From 2007-15, at least 80% of these requested projects were okayed by the Building Commission for each biennium, but for 2017-19, only 2 out of 9 were signed off on. The Legislative Fiscal Bureau mentions what the cost is if the Joint Finance Committee wants to allow the remaining 7 requested self-sustaining UW projects to go through.
7. To be more consistent with previous biennia, the Committee could enumerate additional PRSB projects requested by the Board of Regents. The attachment shows the PRSB projects in priority order assigned to them by the Board of Regents. Enumerating the next five PRSB projects in the priority list requested by the Board of Regents would increase total enumerations by $138,366,000 and authorize an additional $118,860,200 PRSB. Enumerating all of the remaining PRSB projects requested by the Board of Regents would increase total enumerations by $177,223,000 and authorize an additional $153,680,200 PRSB.These requested self-funding projects that were turned down by Walker and the Building Commission include dorm projects at UW-Eau Claire, UW-La Crosse, UW-Madison and UW-River Falls, a new parking ramp near the UW-MadisonSchool of Veterinary Medicine, a new Fieldhouse at UW-La Crosse, and a new Student Health and Wellness Center at UW-Stevens Point.
Another source of capital funding can be through what’s called “All Agency” funds, which is generally used as a catch-all for non-specific projects that are needed over the course of two years. The LFB describes the low amount of funding that is proposed for these All Agency projects, and the increasing costs that will result if this type of maintenance and “as-needed” funding is delayed.
7.The majority of the total general obligation borrowing included in the Building Commission's recommended 2017-19 state building program is GPR-supported borrowing. Table 4 compares the recommended "All Agency" GPR-supported borrowing to the total GPR-supported borrowing included in state building programs over past biennia. As Table 4 shows, the Building Commission's recommended "All Agency" GPR-supported borrowing for the 2017-19 state building program comprises the largest percent of total GPR-supported borrowing compared to the five previous biennia.And why is all of this needed maintenance being deferred? Because Scott Walker wants to avoid raising taxes and maintain some stupid talking point about a low amount of borrowing? It's pathetic and irresponsible, and I would hope the Republicans on the Joint Finance Committee recognize that there are needs that have to be funded and paid for.
8. However, the growth in the "All Agency" portion of the total recommended GPR-supported borrowing for the 2017-19 state building program would be offset by the reduced size of GPR-supported borrowing as a percent of total GPR-supported borrowing for the specifically enumerated projects under the Commission's recommendations. As shown in Table 4, the total $320.5 million of GPR-supported borrowing recommended for the 2017-19 state building program would be the second lowest amount provided for a biennial state building program compared to the five previous biennia.
9. Currently, DFD does not have a database that tracks facility maintenance and repair needs for state agencies. Biennially, DFD requests that state agencies determine the maintenance and repair needs of their facilities. For the 2017-19 biennium, agencies estimated total maintenance and repair needs of $535.7 million. Of that amount, agencies requested that $372.2 million (69.5%) be funded by GPR supported borrowing. The Building Commission's recommended GPR-supported borrowing amount for the "All Agency" program under the 2017-19 state building program comprises 48.8% ($181.7 million / $372.2 million) of the amount requested by agencies….
11. The cost estimating guidelines provided by DFD for 2017-19 capital budget requests directed state agencies to use a cost escalator of 0.9% for the six months between July, 2015, and January, 2016, and 2.0% for every six months thereafter through July, 2021. Using these cost escalators, delaying $190.5 million ($372.2 million-$181.7 million) of project costs by two years would increase these projects' costs by $15.7 million by the beginning of the 2019-21 biennium, assuming that all of these projects would otherwise be implemented in the 2017-19 biennium.
But I'm not betting on it, especially the negligence at the UW. Let's see if I'm surprised tomorrow.