Monday, April 29, 2013

E-update From Rep. Jeff Mursau

eUpdate – April 29, 2013
The Legislative Fiscal Bureau reported last week that the UW Madison reserve funds almost doubled since 2009, mainly from tuition revenues. At the same time, the UW System raised tuition at a 5.5 percent annual rate, the highest allowed by law.
The state’s fiscal bureau found that the surplus grew to $648 million in 2012, including $207 million without a specific funding destination.
UW System Program Revenue Appropriation Balances
Since the news broke last week, there has been much discussion as to what will happen with the UW system in regards to tuition and the $181 million that was request in the Governor's proposal. To sum it up, members from both sides of the aisle are in favor of a two-year tuition freeze. As for the $181 million, some Senators have come out saying to take it all and others are taking a more "wait until we have more information" approach. Here are some issues you should keep in mind. Please keep in mind that if the legislature uses the $181 million to help fund any other program, it will increase Wisconsin’s structural deficit because it is "one-time" money as a tuition freeze will prevent this money from re-accumulating.
Budget Updates
The first Executive Session was able to cut bonding by $50 million and eliminate 33 vacant positions at the DNR.
The JFC will continue its votes on the budget bill Tuesday, with the Department of Transportation, Department of Veterans Affairs, WHEDA, the Wisconsin Historical Society, State Fair Park, the Board on Aging and Long-Term Care, the Board for People with Developmental Disabilities, and budget management and compensation reserves.
Items voted on in Joint Finance’s first Executive Session:
· Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention Board
· Military Affairs
· Environmental Improvement Fund
· Natural Resources – Department wide
· Board of Commissioners of Public Lands
· Fox River Navigational System Authority
· Lower Wisconsin State Riverway Board
· Tourism
The following reductions were made to the Governor’s proposed budget:
· $3.1 million all funds
o $800,000 in GPR
· 33.1 positions
· $52 million in overall bonding
Investment Capital Bill
This bi-partisan bill would create a state-leveraged “fund of funds” to invest in some of Wisconsin’s most promising early stage companies. The Investment Capital legislation will set the stage for a $25 million state investment in a fund that would require a 2-to-1 private investment match over time.
Modeled after similar funds in other states, the fund will spur company creation and job growth while building safeguards to protect the interests of taxpayers.
Targeted growth sectors:
  • Agriculture – Examples are food processing; packaging and safety; urban agriculture; sustainable production; field surveillance and crop management.
  • Information Technology – Examples are software; mobile applications; computing systems; internet networking; electronic health records and medical informatics.
  • Engineered Products – Examples are nanotechnology; materials science; controls, circuits and processors; energy generation and conservation; natural resource management.
  • Advanced Manufacturing – Examples are product and process design and improvement; robotics; automated systems; composite materials; power systems; RFID and supply chain integration.
  • Medical Devices and Imaging – Examples are devices include instruments, implants and apparatus used to diagnose, prevent or treat disease or other conditions. Imaging includes techniques and processes (such as X-rays, MRIs and CAT scans) used to create images of the human body, or its parts and functions, to reveal diagnose or examine disease.
Around the Country
All five living past and present U.S. presidents gathered in Dallas for the dedication of the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum Thursday, an event that saw the men share a rare bond that transcends partisan differences. "There was a time in my life when I wasn't likely to be found at a library, much less found one," Bush quipped, before thanking his predecessors and successor for the "kind words" and the "examples you set."
Former President Bush thanked his mother Barbara Bush for teaching him to live life to the fullest, and his father, the 41st president, for "teaching me how to be a president ... and how to be a man."
The House Judiciary Committee announced Thursday that it would introduce a series of bills beginning this week to overhaul the nation’s immigration system. The House bill will probably offer a 15-year path to citizenship, rather than the 13-year path offered in the Senate plan, though both bills would allow immigrants to earn a green card in 10 years. Immigration bills stemming from the House are widely expected to adopt a more conservative approach than what was put forward in the Democratically-held Senate.
Interesting Reads of the Week
Wall Street Journal: The Evil in Boston

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