State deficit higher than expected, UW System cuts proposed
May 8, 2009
Gov. Jim Doyle has announced proposed cuts that will be made in response to the state deficit, including some which will affect the UW System, according to the May 7, press release on the Office of the Governor’s Web site.
Under the proposed plan, all state employees, including UW System faculty and staff, will lose the 2 percent pay increase that was scheduled to go into effect June 1.
They would also be required to take eight days of unpaid leave in each of the next two years.
The state’s deficit for 2009-11 is now projected to be over $6 billion, about $1 billion more than originally thought.
“It’s basically starting anew with the budget process,” UWRF Director of Media Relations Kevin Harter said. “Everything is going to have to be revisited. We’ll start with the governor’s proposal, then it will go to state lawmakers and various committees and filter through the UW System.”
Harter said that given the circumstances, he suspects some form of the pay cut and unpaid leave will take place.
Vice Chancellor of Administration and Finance at UWRF Lisa Wheeler said both are very disappointing.
“People were counting on that 2 percent in June and looking forward to it,” she said. “We know from a University perspective really our most valuable resource is our people. It’s really hard to take when what’s happening is affecting the quality of life of your people.”
Wheeler said UWRF is not in a unique situation, however.
“While it’s disappointing, we can appreciate the context this is all happening in,” Wheeler said.
Interim Chancellor Connie Foster addressed the cuts in the May 8, Falcon Daily.
“We will continue to assess the budget deficit’s impact on UWRF. Many questions and concerns still need to be addressed, and we are working with the UW System, legislators, and other officials to get answers and keep you informed as the situation develops,” she said. “The process must and will be transparent and done with our strategic mission and goals in mind.”