6.16.11 New Budget Amendment udpates
6.16.11:Assembly 2011-2013 Budget Bill message from UW Extension Chancellor Ray Cross
Early this morning the Assembly passed the 2011-1013 budget bill. It will go to the Senate later today and should be approved rather quickly.
I shared the positive “flexibilities” granted to the UW System in earlier emails so I would like to share information related to telecommunication services. Here are some key points:
Broadband Grant: The grant will be allowed to go forward. Future financial commitments will require Joint Finance Committee approval. In communities where we do not have funds committed as of June 15, 2011 we will need to return to the Joint Finance Committee with our community partners to present our case and to secure their approval. Additionally, during the next six weeks we have committed to meeting with and striving to find a way to collaborate with the telephone companies (I think this is really important and I am personally committed to doing everything I can to make this a win-win-win for everyone but most importantly for our communities and for the people of Wisconsin).
WiscNet: An audit and study of WiscNet’s operations will be reviewed over the next two years. We think this is very healthy and we welcome this action. WiscNet will also be allowed to continue serving its member organizations while the study and audit is being conducted. Additionally, the University will retain full membership while the audit and study is being conducted. Questions about the legality of WiscNet, its programmatic operations, and its financial arrangements in particular will be studied in the audit. We believe this will be beneficial for all parties.
Research Collaborations: We will be allowed to remain as active members of all research consortia (Internet2, etc.). Between now and 2013, the audit/review will help shed new light on our role in these important global partnerships. Even without additional changes to statute beyond today’s amendment, we will still have the option of joining new consortia with additional JFC oversight, and we are confident that legislators will understand the importance of letting UW institutions join these collaborative research networks that boost Wisconsin’s economy.
Comments: I have been very impressed with the honest and sincere approach of so many of our legislators – I really have been. They have been honest with me, they have challenged me, they have diligently listened to us and they have tried to determine what was right for their communities, for their constituents and the state. They have done that while facing the added stress of time constraints and a declining state budget. They truly deserve a note of thanks. Representatives Vos, Strachota, Petryk, Larson, Nygren, and Bernier along with Senators Harsdorf, Olsen, Kapanke, and Moulton have especially been helpful to me personally and to this whole process. They especially deserve a note of appreciation.