FILE - University of Wisconsin-Madison

Bascom Hall on the campus of the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Republican lawmakers in Madison don't want to hear complaints about not spending enough on the University of Wisconsin. 

Republicans on the state's budget writing panel, the Joint Finance Committee, on Tuesday approved nearly $58 million more for the UW System in the next state budget. Despite the increase, Democrats at the Capitol and leaders from the UW System complained it wasn't enough.

"You're not taking into consideration the increases in UW budgets that have happened over the years as well," state Rep. John Nygren, R-Marinette, told Democrats. "Last budget there was $100 million in increases for the UIW system. In this budget, UW has been budgeted $36 million in GPR."

That money is dedicated solely for raises. All 39,000 UW employees will see a four percent raise in the next state budget. 

As part of that $58 million, Nygren and Republicans approved almost $45 million for the UW System to spend however the school sees fit. Republicans just want to see where the money will go before they cut the check. 

That's more than $94 million in new money for the UW System in the next state budget. 

But Democratic lawmakers and UW manager say it's not enough. Gov. Tony Evers had asked for a $177 million increase in his state budget. UW System President Ray Cross said not getting the full amount was "a kick in the shins."

State Rep. Chris Taylor, D-Madison, took it further. She accused Republicans of trying to starve higher education in the state. 

"Only three states, Mississippi, West Virginia and Oklahoma, have spent less to support their universities," Taylor said as she scolded the Democrats in the Joint Finance Committee. "Unless you're going to be Mississippi, and you can look at their child poverty rate there and the infant mortality rate there, this is not something you should be proud of."

The UW System's current budget is $6.3 billion.  

Reporter

An industry veteran with two decades of experience in media, Benjamin Yount reports on Illinois and Wisconsin statewide issues for The Center Square.