EDITORIAL: Yes, pinch UW cash pipeline

Print Article

Force the system to draw down fat reserve funds.

DURING THE BATTLE over actions initiated by Gov. Scott Walker in 2011 in response to a $3.6 billion budget deficit, the University of Wisconsin system was sitting on a dirty little secret.

It was squirreling away a growing stash of cash. By the time that surplus was brought to light recently it had grown to nearly two-thirds of a billion dollars.

All the while the UW decision-makers kept right on jacking up tuition and whining to state officials how cash-strapped the system had become, begging for more money. It was a scam. But one must give credit where credit is due. Their scam worked, for a long time.

NOW WALKER has done what he should. He is calling for reducing a proposed UW budget increase by about half. Meanwhile, he wants to impose a freeze on tuition increases for a period of time.

If UW officials think that pinches their style, they can dip into reserves to cover costs. Until, of course, reserves run out. Then they actually might have to stare austerity in the face.

In our view, there’s little room for legitimate debate over whether Walker and legislators should rein in the UW system. The only real debate should be over whether the rollback proposed by the governor, along with a tuition freeze, is enough. After all, it’s still an increase — just a smaller increase.

What does that buy state taxpayers? And why should taxpayers trust the same people who hid the surplus to now spend more money wisely.

THESE DAYS, few Americans are wired to trust government. Throw in incidents like this, with taxpayers feeling flimflammed, and healthy skepticism can quickly turn into crippling cynicism.

Government, American-style, is supposed to exist only through the consent of the governed. In a year marked by the WEDC’s failures in Madison and the IRS being used for partisan purposes in Washington, the governed ought to be a lot less inclined to meekly consent.

We support Walker’s tough-love approach with the UW. Legislators should work with the governor to make it happen. The message to UW decision-makers should be, “The beatings will continue until you get it.”

Print Article

Read More Opinion

Needed: Better way to pay public costs

October 20, 2017 at 4:00 pm | Relying on Madison politicians and property taxes is a failing system. IT'S THAT TIME OF YEAR, when local governments build and finalize their budgets. The newspaper has published several stories ...

Comments

Read More

'No gain' for rich? Don't believe that.

October 18, 2017 at 4:00 pm | Tax reform is a worthy goal, but details and benefits matter. IN BELOIT THIS WEEK Congressman Mark Pocan, the Madison Democrat who represents this area in the nation's capital, called proposed tax...

Comments

Read More

'The greatest threat to US is nationalism'

October 18, 2017 at 4:00 pm | The greatest threat America faces today is nationalism, which seeks to rule through intimidation of "others": other nations, undocumented people in America, and people seeking to enter the country. ...

Comments

Read More

Call it leadership, American-style

October 16, 2017 at 4:00 pm | Is punishing the poor a salve for bruised political egos? SIX MILLION PEOPLE. That's the estimated number of Americans whose health insurance premiums are subsidized under the Affordable Care Act,...

Comments

Read More

Contact Us

(608) 365-8811
149 State Street
Beloit, WI 53511

©2017 Beloit Daily News Terms of Use Privacy Policy
X