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

Raising the game with demographics

July 17, 2017 at 4:00 pm | Beloit needs to make more progress with improving neighborhoods. FOR THE PAST quarter-century Beloit has been making a name for itself all over the Midwest as the City Center improvements take pla...


Read More

For all of us, stakes went up

July 14, 2017 at 4:00 pm | Only special counsel can set politics aside and sort out what is or is not true. IF A BEST-SELLING AUTHOR were writing a political thriller he might script it this way, with some investigative rep...


Read More

'Hold referendum on school plans'

July 14, 2017 at 4:00 pm | Once again, our school board is teetering on the brink of tax and spend policy, that arguably benefits our ailing district nil. In less than two months after the initial suggestion, some members of ...


Read More

Stop feuding, get back to governing

July 12, 2017 at 4:00 pm | Board must understand: It's OK to disagree; be civil; and don't take it personal. "WHAT IS EVIDENT is that the complaints and circumstances leading to this investigation arose from a dysfunctional...


Read More

Contact Us

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

©2017 Beloit Daily News Terms of Use Privacy Policy