UW Flunks Accounting
April 25, 2013
Call us cynical but if we were told an entity of government had managed to lose track of a billion dollars and it wasn’t a federal agency, we’d almost certainly guess it was some part of the education establishment. On Friday, the Legislative Fiscal Bureau confirmed our guess would have been right.
The bureau reported that the University of Wisconsin System, (which has been whining year after year about disastrous budget cuts and rattling its tin cup for tuition increases,) is running a surplus somewhat north of a billion dollars.
Applying the perverse logic of bureaucracies, it almost makes sense: After all, the UW System sits at the pinnacle of a sector that moans incessantly about the spending curbs it endures, while miraculously finding ways never to spend less in any year than it spent the year before. Anyone who’s ever been cut off in the middle of asking a pointed question at a school board budget hearing knows the routine.
But the UW’s real catastrophe is that the news arrives with a Republican Legislature, regarded with disdain by the leftist elites of Bascom Hill, in the midst of assembling a state budget for the next two years.
The top leaders in both houses on Friday described themselves as “outraged with the mishandling of taxpayer dollars and the pattern of incompetence shown by university system administrators.” They promised “at a minimum” to freeze tuition for the next two years.
We can’t recall any group of state legislators attributing, in writing, a “pattern of incompetence” to any part of the bureaucracy, no matter what they privately thought.
Bring plenty of popcorn for the budget debate.