A state lawmaker says Governor Scott Walker’s so-called “Act 10 for the UW System” isn’t quite there yet. Long time UW critic, state Senator Steve Nass (R-Whitewater), wants Walker’s plan to include two things: reduce the term for members of the Board of Regents term from 7 years to 3, and tie any future tuition hikes to the Consumer Price Index.
“The Consumer Price Index is already in his plan for the block grant, and if we the legislators relinquish our control over the university system, I do believe tuition will just take off like a rocket,” Nass said.
Walker’s plan would create a public authority, and fund the UW through an annual block grant tied to the CPI. It also cuts state funding to UW by some $300 million over the next two-year budget cycle. Nass cited data from the Legislative Fiscal Bureau to argue that without his proposed changes to the governor’s plan, the Board of Regents will dramatically increase tuition starting in 2017, attempting to recoup at least $75 million of the cuts in 2017-18. Nass said that would amount to an increase in tuition of 10 percent.
Nass, who co-chairs the Senate committee charged with higher education oversight, said his support for the governor’s overall 2015-’17 state budget could hinge on whether these changes are adopted. “It would make it very, very difficult, quite frankly.”