Ward, Doyle offer updates on Wisconsin’s budget situation

UW-Green Bay Interim Chancellor David Ward shared an e-mailed update on the state budget situation late Thursday afternoon (Nov. 20). Ward counseled caution and patience in anticipating any fallout for the UW System and its students — much remains to be seen before state leaders take up the budget in earnest in January.

For the text of Ward’s message to faculty and staff members, see below.

Meanwhile, Gov. Jim Doyle held a news conference in Madison, and state media outlets are emphasizing the magnitude of the state’s fiscal challenge. Early Journal-Sentinel coverage can be read here.

David Ward e-mail to campus

I’m sure you have been following with interest news media accounts anticipating a significant budget deficit for the state of Wisconsin in the next few years. The current global economic slowdown has taken its toll on states across the country, and Governor Doyle has been publicly speculating for weeks about the potential impact of the negative economic news on Wisconsin.

Today, the state Department of Revenue made public its official analysis of the state of Wisconsin’s economic conditions and revenue projections. According to the Department’s estimates, the state will have a revenue shortfall of $5.4 billion through the end of the 2009-11 biennium.

While the budget projections are cause for concern, it is premature to speculate on specific impacts on state government programs and agencies, including the University of Wisconsin System. Governor Doyle said today he will introduce a budget repair bill early in the 2009 session to address this year’s budget gap. And, it will be at least another two months before the Governor introduces his 2009-11 state budget proposal. The Governor and Legislature are unlikely to take final action on the budget until next summer.

At UW-Green Bay, we and our many supporters throughout the New North region continue to work with our legislative delegation to make sure they understand the University’s role in driving our region’s economy and enriching its quality of life. In mid-December, we will host the New North legislative delegation for a discussion of the importance of UW-Green Bay and the UW System to the state’s economic future.

I pledge to you that budget decisions at UW-Green Bay will be made through an open and transparent process and that the campus community will have ample opportunities to share ideas and concerns. We will share information with you as we receive it from Madison and as we proceed with decisions that will have an impact on the future of our University. We already have been informed that chancellors must approve all new hires and justify them as essential to our mission. At UW-Green Bay, we have used such a hiring procedure with the assistance of our Position Review Committee for many years.

In spite of legitimate concerns about economic conditions and lagging state revenue, I urge you to keep in mind one key factor pertaining to the UW System: Governor Doyle and legislative leaders have indicated a strong desire to support the University and its efforts to grow.

As I mentioned earlier, I will keep you informed as more news becomes available and as we make progress on the budget. If you have questions or concerns, please call me at 2207 or e-mail me at wardd@uwgb.edu.

I’d like to close this message by thanking you for your hard work, dedication and – in these uncertain times – your patience. Working together, we will make sure that UW-Green Bay continues to play a central role in building a bright future for our region and state.