GOP Lawmakers Approve $2.4 Billon Capital Budget

Republicans on the Legislature’s budget committee voted for a $2.4 billion capital budget Thursday, the largest of any state building program in years but was about $1.4 billion smaller than the $3.8 billion capital budget proposed by Governor Evers.

The University of Wisconsin played a major role in both Evers’ building plan and the one passed by Republicans. But while Evers’ budget called for $1.8 billion in UW building projects, Republicans approved $950 million, or about half. They included:

  • $285 million for a Camp Randall Sports Center replacement at the UW-Madison.
  • $231 million for a UW-Eau Claire science building.
  • $58 million for residence halls at the UW-Oshkosh.
  • $139 million for renovations to the UW-Stout’s Heritage Hall

Other projects funded by Republicans include $160 million for a new Wisconsin Historical Society Museum and almost $11 million for upgrades to the Marquette University School of Dentistry. Those projects, like others approved Thursday, will be built with a combination of state funding and private gifts.

Typically when the state funds building projects, it issues bonds, or borrows. But the motion Republicans passed Thursday would pay for many of the projects in cash. Overall, Republicans would set aside $1.2 billion in state funding for buildings. They’d also spend another $400 million to pay down old debt.

The building projects approved Thursday still need to clear the full Legislature before they’re sent to the governor’s desk.