The University of Wisconsin is recruiting business leaders to lobby for new engineering construction funds

The University of Wisconsin is recruiting business leaders to lobby for new engineering construction funds

The University of Wisconsin-Madison began efforts to persuade the Legislature to provide nearly $200 million to build a new engineering building at Higher Alert Monday.

The University of Wisconsin has announced a campaign including digital ads, newspapers, social media and a video spot to reverse the Republican legislative majority’s decision in June Against construction financing In the state’s capital budget for 2023-25. The campaign “amplifies Wisconsin businesses’ messages about the need for more engineers and calls on decision makers to take action to move the project forward,” a University of Wisconsin statement said. advertisement advertiser.

The University of Wisconsin dropped the names of some of the state’s largest companies that are among the “major employers (that) are calling for legislative action,” according to a university announcement. The bosses Participate in the campaign They include Johnson Controls, Kohler, Epic, American Family Insurance, Rockwell Automation, and Plexus. The Fox Cities Chamber of Commerce and Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce also signed on, the university said.

“As Wisconsin employers, we are deeply disappointed by the Joint Finance Committee’s decision not to include the UW-Madison College of Engineering expansion in the 2023-25 ​​capital budget,” reads a letter signed by 42 executives and published in Wisconsin. State Journal states on Sunday.

“Of the total project cost of $347 million, UW-Madison has committed to raising $150 million in private gifts and grants,” the letter said, adding that $100 million has already been pledged, “contingent on state support for the project this cycle.”

The letter adds that delaying the project to the 2025-2027 budget would increase its cost to $400 million, “with no guarantee that donor funds will remain available.”

Gov. Tony Evers included $197 million for the new engineering building in a special session bill he proposed in August. The $1.4 billion bill, which focuses heavily on subsidizing child care and several other workforce-related initiatives, is before the Legislature in hearings beginning in September.

Evers issued a statement Monday highlighting the UW campaign and his inclusion of the engineering building in his initiative for the session. He stated that “Republicans have spent the intervening months delaying a decision on the plan and refusing to meaningfully consider the governor’s proposal in its current form.”

While the engineering construction clause appears to have attracted Republican interest Senate hearing In Evers’ special session bill, it was ruled out when Senate Majority Leader Devin LeMahieu Rewriting Evers bill. The Oostburg Republican introduced a $2 billion tax cut in place of the original legislation’s proposals.

Evers pledged to veto the rewrite, which passed the Senate with only Republican votes.

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