Wednesday, April 24, 2013

In WI, Some Unspent State Dollars Are Worth More Than Others

Some legislators are having a political field day with the 'discovery' that the UW system accumulates unspent funds in hundreds, perhaps thousands of accounts across its multi-campus system.

State Representative and former budget committee co-chair Robin Vos, (R-Burlington), has even used the brouhaha to reprise his anger at the UW-Madison's cancellation of some classes when Pres. Barack Obama spoke at a pre-election rally, so let's chalk up some of the legislative outrage to routine partisan gamesmanship and the continuation of the battle between the two ends of State Street over budgetary supremacy that has raged since time immemorial.

But on the matter of the rectitude of surplus government funds, I note this with a hat tip to the intrepid reporter Sean Ryan's February account of Walker's economic development funding - - setting aside the entire missing millions mess at Walker's signature economic development corporation - -  and wonder if there are double-standards afoot:

Also, the Department of Tourism would get a boost by keeping $1 million in unspent money and receiving $200,000 over two years for marketing to attract tourists from other countries. A grant program to attract conventions would receive $150,000 over two years.


Anonymous said...

I think UW should be commended for being frugal in times of austerity. I also bet that the money is already ear-marked for upcoming expenditures. I can see how the GOP might be feeling a little defensive. They haven't introduced one jobs bill, instead spending time on groundhog hunting and vanity license plates. They must be feeling pretty stupid.

Jake formerly of the LP said...

I think you hit on the real reason GOPs want to make this an issue- it's to distract the lazy media from looking into their failures on jobs, and it keeps the mouth-breathing part of the base fired up.

But the hypocrisy is obvious- the GOP backed huge General Fund cuts to the UW System, forcing the UW System to rely more on tuition and other user fees to keep the schools running. Then the WisGOPs complain when they do that job too well, and will probably use that as an excuse to not give any more GPR to the university. Very perverse incentives.

And by the way, Walker just sent in a request to do the same thing with a number of other funds, including the USF fund that James mentioned earlier this month.

Anonymous said...

If, God willing, some court finally rules that Act 10 was illegal, the UW System is going to be needing those funds to repay their employees for their double contributions to the benefit funds.