University of Wisconsin System funding outrage dissipates

There’s two likely reasons. First, the right side of Wisconsin has quit screaming about it. And perhaps they’ve stopped squawking because the Governor has $180 million in new funding attached to his budget when the system only asked for $30 million.

In this interview with Assembly member Dale Kooyenga, (R) Brookfield, you’ll hear the governor appropriated the generous amount even though the system asked for less. Kooyenga is the source for the numbers above.

I had a chance to visit with Kooyenga yesterday. He affirmed my position that there is no reason to get hysterical or point fingers about the funding reserve discovery. But then, he also retweeted the “slush fund” meme from MacIver.

I haven’t had any luck finding a source link for the $30 million dollar number. That number has been used in conjunction with the amount UW wants to put to need-based financial aid, but I haven’t found it when referencing the funding request in general. I did find $21 million, but something tells me it’s not the same. It’s almost like they use different categories and numbers on purpose to keep us confused.

Here is a brief describing the budget in general. The number 181 (as in million) is used on page 34. That number appears to be in jeopardy though as Governor Scott Walker is saying he will amend the number. State Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R) Juneau told talk show host Jay Weber the higher funding was all but dead. (Sorry about the JSOnline link for that one. I should be able to find the podcast, but alas, it wasn’t worth more than a two-minute search effort. Ahem, WISN. Why couldn’t I find it in two minutes?)

A letter from the Governor was expected in ten days five days ago. I guess we’ll have to wait to see what happens. Budget discussions will continue this week.

I think it’s stunning (I’m using that word to create angst here. Take it or leave it.) that a well-considered amount for funding education when all those numbers were in documents to begin is now no longer valid because a couple of talk show hosts decided to make something of it. Wisconsin wants leadership, Governor. You teased us with a glimmer of ability a couple of years ago, right before you disappeared to campaign continuously. Don’t you think that maybe you could show up and provide a little direction?

If the numbers were good enough six weeks ago, and if you are doing your job properly, then those numbers should be good enough now. I’m not for spending all the money possible. Not at all. I am for leadership who thinks before they act. If you change the numbers now, you admit you didn’t know what you were talking about six weeks ago when the numbers were exactly the same. Are you sure that’s what you have in mind? If so, you are at least required to admit your mistake.

As for implementing a tuition freeze, well, that’s not the legislature’s job. State tax dollars only fund the university system to a point (did I see 15%?) and after that it’s tuition. A two percent tuition raise is much better than the 5.5% students saw in the past. Resist the urge for a knee jerk reaction – especially when it’s not really in your scope to make the decision.

I invite the legislature to manage the spending they can. Economic Development? Yes, they are in charge of spending those empty dollars that are often shuffled to campaign supporters. Chomp on that. Increasing the budget to accommodate an extra 700 plus FTE positions? Maybe you can go there. (That one is in the budget summary document. Good reading.)

One place I think we can all agree: The rhetoric had better start matching the reality of the matter from all sides involved in the UW System discussion. It may sell radio and newspaper advertisements to jerk Wisconsin around on this subject, but it’s not creating a lot of goodwill. If a university system president uses language indicating that the institution is being decimated one week and then lauds how generous the budget is the next, that may not be doing a lot to bolster his argument that he’s managing the institution prudently. The same goes for lawmakers. To proclaim the governor’s budget the best thing since sliced bread the week before you argue the governor budgeted too much WHEN THOSE VERY SAME NUMBERS HAVE BEEN USED ALL ALONG might not do much for your image as champion watchdog for the taxpayer.

Careful out there. You’ve caught our attention on the subject. Better make certain the pieces fit together properly before anyone says much more.


  1. Ricardo says:

    Hi Cindy. Still with Tom even though he had that affair? Still blaming my posts on others? Still bat-shit crazy? And I’m routing through Florida today. No need to trace. We’re watching you. Closer than you think.

  2. Well good morning. I missed this coming in last night.

    You have so many personalities I don’t really need to blame your posts on others anymore, do I? And don’t flatter yourself. You are of such little importance you leave anonymous comments on a housewife’s blog.

    Oooh. That’s super scary. At least you weren’t characteristically foul-mouthed this time.

  3. You know what, Ricardo? I’ve decided I’m being stalked. And given your “We’re watching” threat, I’m starting to realize by whom. I’ll document this, as well as your others, and a couple of times when you’ve used your own name. Do it again and I’ll be sending it all to our local police officer. (I use our purposely.)

    Finally I’ll suggest with great confidence that if you want to keep that cute new job of yours, you will cool it. I will remind you that every single man who has felt threatened by me enough to strike out eventually implodes in great wonder. I don’t have to lift a finger.

    Just ask Brookfield’s former Mayor how much he likes being mall security.

  4. Good points Cindy. One clarification: the headline in the retweet is that of MacIver, not Kooyenga’s own phrasing.

  5. Yes, absolutely. Kooyenga even called to make sure I understood he retweeted that. Perhaps to the non-geeks, the statement:

    But then, he also retweeted the “slush fund” meme from MacIver.

    could read:

    “But then, he also quoted the “slush fund” statement from MacIver.”

    Nonetheless, there are no bad guys here. Just my desire to lower the rhetoric. (Because goodness knows I’ve got problems of my own given that other comment.)

  6. James Hoggatt says:

    Routing through “florida” is a good idea only when you made sure you reset the IDs of your other wirelessly connected devices on your network. Devices store formerly used IP configurations.

    All the best.

  7. Which will come in very, very handy should a criminal investigation ever be needed. 🙂