During this spring’s budget hearings, it was revealed that the University of Wisconsin System had large cash balances sitting in reserve. In response, the legislature froze tuition for two years and directed the Legislative Audit Bureau (LAB) to audit the UW System’s program revenue balances.
LAB found that the UW System’s program revenue balances totaled more than $1 billion as of June 30, 2013. Of that amount, LAB focused on reviewing the $755.4 million in balances that did not have a restricted use. The audit broke the total $755.4 million unrestricted balance into five categories: obligated, planned, designated, reserves, and undocumented. 18.8%, or $142.2 million, was “undocumented” meaning it had no documentation of an obligation or plan for the funds.
On November 11 the Wisconsin Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the most hotly anticipated case of the year - Madison Teachers, Inc. v. Scott Walker. The case centers on the constitutionality of 2011 Wisconsin Act 10, also known as the budget repair bill, which sparked massive protests at the state capitol in the spring of 2011.
This is the second time Act 10 has come to the high court, but the first time the court has taken up the law on its merits.
The Department of Workforce Development (DWD) is now accepting applications for Wisconsin Fast Forward grants. Wisconsin Fast Forward includes $15 million in grants for employer-led worker training programs. The intent is to provide essential assistance that cannot be met through an existing program. Grants will be awarded to maximize the impact of funds in catalyzing local collaboration and also to encourage the development of sustained pipelines that directly align with employer needs.
The Senate and Assembly have adjourned their last regular sessions for 2013. Both houses had busy agendas as they moved to get bills passed before the end of the calendar year.
WisconsinEye’s Steve Walters sat down with Ann Coakley and Larry Lynch of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources to get an update on the application for the Gogebic Taconite mine proposal in Ashland and Iron counties.