The plan to turn the UW System into a public authority “might be on life-support,” the state’s budget committee co-chairman said Tuesday.

Rep. John Nygren, R-Marinette, who co-chairs the state’s Joint Finance Committee, said several Republican lawmakers are skeptical of Gov. Scott Walker’s plan to give the UW System more flexibility, according to the Associated Press.

Walker’s plan also cuts UW System funding by $300 million, a number UW officials, faculty and students have tried to bring down. But Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, R-Juneau, said at a news conference the cut might not go down, the AP reported.

“I don’t see it being reduced at all where we are right now,” Fitzgerald said.

Fitzgerald said any extra money the state may receive from tax collections would likely go to public schools and roads, leaving little money left for the UW System to help offset the cut.

Walker has said the flexibilities the UW System would gain from a public authority would help make up for the budget cuts.

Still, UW System President Ray Cross has said he wants the cuts to go down.

“This proposed cut is serious, and I know from your public comments and our conversations that you agree,” Cross said at a Joint Finance Committee meeting earlier this month.

Cross, however, has endorsed the public authority, saying the system has long sought flexibilities that are a burden on UW and taxpayers, and that those flexibilities will build a more stable system.

Cross asks state budget committee to reduce proposed $300 million UW cutCriticisms alluded to the University of Wisconsin-Madison Chancellor Rebecca Blank at the state’s Joint Finance Committee hearing Tuesday amid discussions Read…

During a news conference Tuesday, Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, R-Rochester, said he’s consistently been one of the biggest supporters of giving the UW System more autonomy.

But Vos said he was concerned about how the smaller universities, such as UW-Parkside or UW-Stout, would be hit harder by cuts and would not benefit as much with the public authority.

“I want to find a way to make sure as reductions occur … that we do it in a way that serves every campus and doesn’t just hold them all to the same standard where they might think accountability is good for some but it might not generate the savings on a lot of campuses,” Vos said.

Vos’ comments came before the Assembly took up several bills on Tuesday. The Senate, meanwhile, voted 17-13 to appoint Andrew Hitt to the UW Hospital and Clinics Board.

The Senate also passed a bill that that would allow hard alcohol samples in grocery stores. That bill now goes to Walker’s desk.

What Walker’s UW budget cuts and increased autonomy means for students and facultyGov. Scott Walker suggested Wednesday that the University of Wisconsin System could ask its professors to teach one more class Read…