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Proposed Budget Cuts Shared Revenue, School Aids, UW System, Maintenance of Effort for Public Libraries

Posted by on Wednesday, March 02, 2011 in State Legislation/Initiatives
Governor Walker introduced the 2011-13 Executive State Budget (AB 40) in an address to a joint legislative session Tuesday at 4 p.m. He outlined cuts to shared revenue totaling $96 million in fiscal year 2012, and capped local levy increases at the greater of 0 percent or the gain in value due to net new construction, while also extending levy limits for two years.

K-12 school aids will be cut $749.4 million over the biennium. Revenue caps will be reduced 5.5 percent below those in place during fiscal year 2010-11.

In addition, the UW-Madison and the UW System will share cuts totaling $250 million. The budget also calls for UW-Madison to become an "independent public authority with greater flexibility to manage compensation, human resources, tuition and capital projects." The UW System would also be required to expend $250,000 to develop a plan to convert UW-Milwaukee to a public authority.

Budget documents also reveal elimination of maintenance of effort (MOE) funding for public libraries.  The budget document reads, "The Governor recommends eliminating the requirement that municipalities and counties maintain annual local expenditures for public libraries at the average of the prior three years as a condition for being a member of a public library system."

The move to eliminate MOE was expected as Walker had promised to provide local governments with "tools" and "flexibility" to help balance their budgets. In addition, the League of Wisconsin Municipalities had listed repeal of library MOE funding as a priority on their legislative agenda, and maintenance of effort had been targeted for elimination by Republican lawmakers in previous legislative sessions. The City of Milwaukee had also recently sought relief from MOE requirements.

The proposed budget appears to decrease by 10 percent funding for public library systems, BadgerLink and statewide contracts in the first year of the biennium, with flat funding in the second. DPI is continuing to analyze the budget to determine the detailed ramifications of the budget bill.
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