Wisconsin Technical College System on Track to Get $25 million Boost

Republicans on the Legislature’s budget-writing committee voted for more money for the Wisconsin Technical College System but not as much as what Democrats and the colleges requested.

The $25 million in new funding approved by the Joint Finance Committee was more than the $18 million Democratic Gov. Tony Evers initially proposed in his 2019-21 budget plan.

On Wednesday, Evers requested that lawmakers tack an additional $18 million onto the budget to fully fund the colleges’ request because Wisconsin is set to collect $753 million more in tax revenue than previously estimated, according to an analysis by the nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau released Wednesday.

“There is a balance to be had,” said Rep. Shannon Zimmerman, R-River Falls. “And there is a responsibility that we have to not go to that well too often or in too great of a way because the harm can be irreparable.”

Technical colleges spokesman Conor Smyth said the money would allow colleges to address local needs they have identified, such as adding course sections for high-demand programs such as nursing or creating new curriculum and programming in response to local employers’ needs.