Opinion Matters

With Gazette Opinion Editor Greg Peck

Are UW System reserves too high?

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Greg Peck
April 29, 2013

Senate President Mike Ellis, R-Neenah, spoke of “shame” after a Legislative Audit Bureau report revealed large UW System reserves. Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, R-Burlington, claims UW officials “embarrassed” the state. Sen. Alberta Darling, R-River Hills, co-chairwoman of the budget-writing Joint Finance Committee, suggested “incompetence” and “arrogance” and even that perhaps UW System President Kevin Reilly should resign.

Do UW System officials deserve such criticism? After all, as PolitiFact explained in Friday’s Gazette, the unrestricted surplus is about $648 million. Are UW students and their families, who have routinely seen tuition rise 5.5 percent annually, right to be angry, as well?

Is that surplus too much? Isn’t some sort of rainy-day fund prudent? After all, lack of a state rainy-day fund has left Wisconsin’s finances bouncing from crisis to crisis whenever the economy tanks.

We’ll share our perspectives in our editorial Tuesday.

Greg Peck can be reached at (608) 755-8278 or gpeck@gazettextra.com. Or follow him on Twitter or Facebook

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