Projects delayed in the last state budget now cost $30 million more 

What happen's when you have a Governor more concerned with running for president than sound budgeting? Apparently, it's short-term decisions with long-lasting effects for Wisconsin taxpayers. Gov. Walker kicked the can down the road on UW System infrastructure projects in the last budget by blocking requests by the UW System to borrow funds for building construction. However, a Legislative Fiscal Bureau memo released today shows that the seven capital budget items ignored by the Governor in the 2015-17 budget have now increased in cost by nearly $30 million. [1]

The UW System is now requesting $257.3 million for the building projects in its 2017-19 capital budget request, a sharp uptick from the $227.6 million it requested for the same projects just two years ago. 

Not only are taxpayers on the hook for a larger bill to construct new buildings on UW campuses, they're also on the hook for key maintenance projects to the buildings that already exist on campuses around the state. Republicans' decision to not fund maintenance projects is expected to cost an additional $13.5 million in future budgets according to the Legislative Fiscal Bureau. [3]

"It's incredibly irresponsible for Republicans to kick the can down the road on infrastructure projects for the sake of an election year talking point. The infrastructure needs in our state don't just disappear, they persist far past November and require an even larger effort to fix," Democratic Party of Wisconsin Chair Martha Laning said on Thursday. "Democrats know we can't keep going down this path as our roads and buildings crumble and become less safe. It's time for Republicans to work with our members in the legislature during the next budget cycle and make the right decisions that will solve these problems."


Background

[1] Fiscal Bureau: Capital projects delayed in last state budget now cost $30 million more (Wisconsin State Journal, Matt DeFour, Nico Savidge 8/17/16)
[2] Memo: UW System 2015-17 and Proposed 2017-19 Capital Budget Requests, 8/16/16)
[3] Cost of Delaying UW All Agency and Small Projects (Legislative Fiscal Bureau, 7/29/16)